KEENE, N.H.--The Keene State College volleyball team sent senior Rachel Lamica out in style, sweeping a tri-match from Rhode Island College 3-1 (14-25, 25-16, 25-15, 25-17) and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts 3-0 (25-8, 25-7, 25-12) at Spaulding Gym on Saturday afternoon.
- Keene State: 21-4, 5-1 LEC
- Rhode Island College: 15-10, 1-4 LEC
- MCLA: 8-17
How it Happened - Rhode Island College
The Owls recovered from a slow start to pick up a key conference win. Lamica had 18 kills, seven digs, and a pair of service aces. Riley Bunker had four service aces and a team high 24 digs, while Olivia Mathieu had seven kills without an error while adding 19 digs and three service aces. Jennifer Severino had seven kills, and Kait West had 13 digs and a service ace.
The Anchorwomen started the first set strong, opening up a 6-0 lead. The Owls closed to within 9-7 on a kill by Kelly Hunt, but RIC scored the next five points for a 14-7 lead, and expanded it to 20-11 on a kill by Jacquline Jutras. Lamica's ace got the Owls within 10 at 24-14, but the Anchorwomen took the set with a kill from Courtney Lambrese.
The teams traded points to open the second set, and after RIC took a 8-7 lead, the Owls scored the next seven points, including back-to-back blocks from Niamh Dodd on their way to a 14-8 lead. Kills from Dodd and Lamica, sandwiched around an RIC error, gave KSC a 23-16 lead, and the Owls closed it out with another kill from Dodd and an attacking error from the Anchorwomen.
Keene State raced out to a 9-2 lead in the third set, going up 4-0 on Mathieu's service ace, and taking advantage of consecutive kills from Dodd and Mathieu for a 15-10 lead. Riley Bunker had two aces in a row that made it 20-11, and Severino thundered down a kill that closed out the third set.
It was another strong start for the Owls in the fourth, as Lamica and Wilson teamed up for a block that gave Keene State a 7-2 lead, then Dodd and Mathieu did the same for a 14-6 advantage. An RIC error put the game at match point, before Mathieu's kill gave the Owls the victory.
How it Happened - MCLA
Keene State made quick work of the Trailblazers, holding MCLA to -.138 hitting for the game and just eight total kills for the entire match. Lamica nearly doubled the MCLA tally on her own, adding 15 more kills to her day without making an error and hitting .750 for the match. Kait West topped the Owls with 12 digs, while Wilson had 25 assists and Jenny Nohara had 14. The Owls hit a season high .398 for the entire match, piling up 44 kills against just nine errors.
The Owls jumped out to a 7-2 lead on a kill from Severino, then opening the lead up to 16-5 as Mathieu served KSC into five straight points. Keene State continued their dominance by taking a 20-7 lead on another kill from Severino, and Lamica had a hand in the final four KSC points, with three kills and a block as the Owls claimed the opening set.
It was more of the same in the second set, as Lamica had back-to-back aces for a 7-3 lead, while a kill from Hunt made it 15-4. Mathieu's serving was key, as she served up six consecutive points for a 23-6 lead, and consecutive kills from Lamica ended the set.
The third set was not unlike the first two, as Hunt knocked down two kills in a row for an 8-3 lead, and Bunker's service ace made it 16-4. Two straight kills from Palmer made it 19-8, while Kali Sequeira did the same for a 23-12 lead. Nohara's ace sent the game to match point, before setting up Hunt for a kill that ended proceedings.
- Before the MCLA match, Lamica was honored for her contributions to the program. The senior from Malone, N.Y., was a second team All-LEC selection last year, and has won four LEC Offensive Player of the Week awards thus far this season. As a sophomore in 2015, she was part of the LEC regular season champion team that reached the tournament final.
- Lamica now has 398 kills this season, moving past Bridget O'Bryant for the fifth highest single season total in school history. Next up is Brittany O'Bryant, who had 416 in 2008.
- The Owls reached the 20 mark for the first time since 2015.
- Keene State heads to Plymouth State on Tuesday evening for a 6 p.m. start, knowing that a win will lock up the No. 2 seed and a bye into the semifinals of the Little East Conference tournament.
- Rhode Island College hosts UMass Dartmouth on Tuesday night, needing a win to stay alive in the race for the LEC tournament. MCLA is also in action on Tuesday night, hosting SUNY Cobleskill in non-conference action.