KEENE, N.H. - The Keene State College volleyball team improved to 8-0 at home as they swept a Saturday tri-match from UMass Dartmouth and the University of Maine-Presque Isle at Spaulding Gym. The Owls beat the Corsairs 3-0 (25-16, 25-15, 25-16) in LEC action before knocking off UMPI 25-16, 25-14, and 25-14.
- Keene State: 17-5, 4-1 LEC
- UMass Dartmouth: 7-10, 0-4 LEC
- Maine-Presque Isle: 7-12
How It Happened - UMass Dartmouth
Megan Palmer led the Owls with 13 kills against just one error, hitting .353 for the match. Three players had double-digit digs, led by Kait West's 15. Riley Bunker added 11 and Palmer ten, while Bailey Wilson had 31 assists and seven digs. Nicole Silverman had 12 kills, 18 digs and three aces for UMass Dartmouth.
Keene State led for the vast majority of the match, as there were just three lead changes. The Owls used two separate four-point runs in the early going, capped by a kill from Palmer and an ace from Wilson, to establish a 9-3 lead in the opening set. They widened the advantage to 14-5 after kills from Palmer and Niamh Dodd sandwiched an ace from Elizabeth Johnson. UMD got a pair of aces from Silverman and eventually drew within 17-13, but KSC closed the set with ease, scoring eight of the final ten points. Mathieu had a pair of kills when the Owls scored the last four to win 25-15.
KSC never trailed in the second frame, holding off two UMD surges to win going away. Kills from Johnson and Palmer finished an 8-3 opening run. The Corsairs drew within one after scoring four in a row, but the Owls responded by scoring six of seven for a 15-9 lead. UMass Dartmouth got within one once more after tallying five straight points, but Keene State cruised from there, as three kills from Palmer and one from Dodd helped make it 22-14. One more kill from Palmer and two attacking errors gave KSC the set. The Owls wound up scoring 10 of the final 11 points.
The third set was much closer, as neither team could gain separation early on. The teams traded the first 12 points before KSC scored three in a row for a 9-6 lead. UMass Dartmouth then scored four straight to go ahead for the first time since the initial set, but the Owls recorded seven of the next nine, finishing with kills by Mathieu and Johnson for a 16-12 lead. The Corsairs never seriously threatened again, as KSC extended the lead to 20-14 and later 22-15. Dodd and Wilson combined for a block to bring the Owls to match point, and a kill from Johnson polished off the sweep.
How It Happened - Maine-Presque Isle
The second match of the day was not much different than the first, as the New Hampshire Owls got the better of the Maine Owls. KSC got 12 digs, nine kills and two aces from Ali McLoughlin. Emilyann Ashford also had nine kills while adding six digs. Nina Dias had 24 assists, five digs, and two aces.
KSC got out to a 6-3 advantage to open the match, but saw Presque Isle battle back to tie it at ten. It was still just a one point set at 14-13, but Keene State pulled away quickly after that. An ace from McLoughlin and kills from Kelly Hunt and Ashford made it 18-13 and, later, an ace from Cydnee Morgan and a kill from Mathieu brought up set point (24-15). The set ended when Wilson set up Kali Sequeira for a kill.
The second set was never in much doubt, as Keene State scored 11 of the initial 13 points, capped by a pair of kills from Palmer and one from Dodd. The closest UMPI got after that was seven at 15-8 and 16-9. Kills from Johnson, Palmer and Dodd in succession, and an ace from Bunker, helped put KSC up double-digits (22-10) and, later, another point from Palmer put an end to the frame.
UMPI went in front to start the third, as a kill by Ashlon Stroub was the end of opening an 8-5 lead. Keene State quickly reassumed control, though, as kills by Ashford and McLoughlin tied it at eight, and an ace from Dias put KSC in front. Leading 12-10, the Owls quickly put an end to the match by scoring 13 of the last 17 points. Three straight UMPI errors made it 16-10 and, a short time later, a kill from Palmer and a block by Sequeira helped make it 23-13. Yet one more kill from Palmer set up match point, and the Owls ended the day when McLoughlin and Sequeira combined for a block on Maddie Thweatt.
- Keene State's 4-1 conference mark leaves them tied for first place with Eastern Connecticut State University. The Owls defeated the Warriors 3-0 on September 15. UMass Boston and Rhode Island College are right behind at 3-1. KSC hosts UMB on October 20 and goes to RIC on the final day of the regular season, October 27.
- The Owls swept all three home tri-matches this season. KSC is also 18-1 in their last 19 home matches, as they went 10-1 at Spaulding Gym last season.
- Bunker had 24 digs on the day and now needs just 75 to move into the top spot on the all-time digs list.
- KSC has beaten UMass Dartmouth in 17 of 23 all-time meetings. The match with Presque Isle marked the first between the two programs.
- Keene State remains home and will host Western New England University on Thursday, October 11 at 7:00 pm.
- UMass Dartmouth entertains Eastern Connecticut for a conference match on Tuesday, October 9 beginning at 7:00 pm.
- Maine-Presque Isle takes on University of Maine-Fort Kent next Saturday, October 13 at 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm.