KEENE, N.H. - UMass Boston scored 34 of the final 48 points in the match to hand the Keene State College volleyball team a 3-1 (17-25, 25-19, 20-25, 13-25) Little East Conference loss on Saturday afternoon at Spaulding Gym.
- Keene State: 19-8, 5-2 LEC
- UMass Boston: 15-8, 6-1 LEC
How It Happened
Keene State split the first two sets and had a 19-16 lead in the third, but the Beacons took over from there in a key Little East Conference matchup. The Owls were paced by Megan Palmer's seven kills and nine digs. Riley Bunker had 23 digs, while Bailey Wilson had 18 assists, three kills and two digs. UMass Boston had three players with double-digit kills, led by 19 from Eileen Shi. Sarah Doyle had 13 and Emilia Czapiewska 11.
The opening set was close early on, as the teams split the first 18 points. KSC scored the first three before UMB went up 8-6, only to see the Owls tie it at nine. However, the Beacons pulled away quickly after that. Kills from Shi and Doyle put UMass Boston up three, and the Beacons then scored six consecutive points to take an 18-10 lead. Trailing 20-11, Keene State scored six of the next seven to get within four (21-17), but the Beacons closed the set with four straight points.
The Owls utilized a late burst in the second set to even the match. A kill from Palmer put KSC up 4-1, but the Beacons eventually got kills from Shi and Czapiewska to lead 9-8. A kill from Niamh Dodd and an ace from Olivia Mathieu put the Owls back in front, a lead they would not relinquish over the remainder of the frame. A kill from Palmer and an ace from Bunker extended the lead to 14-10, and a short time later a kill from Mathieu forced a UMB timeout at 17-12. After trailing by six, the Beacons scored four in a row to get within two (18-16), but a big KSC surge helped end the set. The Owls got a kill and an ace from Elizabeth Johnson, and two blocks by Dodd for a 23-16 lead. Later, a kill by Kelly Hunt and Kait West's ace evened the match.
The third set saw eight ties and four lead changes. Kills from Palmer and Johnson opened a 5-2 KSC lead, which remained 11-8 after consecutive UMass Boston errors. The Beacons forged four ties after that, including at 16 when Doyle set up Shi for a kill. Keene State appeared to regain control when two kills from Dodd sandwiched a UMB attack error put the Owls up 19-16, but the Owls scored just once more after that. The Beacons tied the match on a block and went ahead 20-19 on a kill from Shi. UMB kept pulling away, as two more kills from Shi and one from Czapiewska gave them the set.
A UMass Boston error had the fourth set tied at four in the early going, but a massive Beacon run that featured six kills and three aces ended any suspense. A pair of kills from Doyle bookending one from Shi made it a 10-5 lead for the visitors, which was eventually widened to 18-5 after three straight aces by Sidnee Berch. The closest Keene State got after that was 22-12.
- Keene State hit -.007 in the match, their lowest mark of the season, and had a hitting percentage above zero in only one of the four sets. UMB hit .187 and racked up 53 kills.
- The Owls have lost 16 straight matches against the Beacons, not having beaten them since the 2008 Little East Conference Championship game in Keene.
- Playoff permutations: The UMass Boston win puts them at 6-1 in the conference, tied for the top spot with Eastern Connecticut State University. The Warriors own the tiebreaker by virtue of a 3-0 head-to-head win on September 21 and can clinch the top seed with one more win. Keene State sits in third place at 5-2 and can ensure at least that spot with a win at Rhode Island College. The only way the Owls can clinch second is if they and UMass Boston win their final conference matches and ECSU drops theirs.
- Before the match, Keene State honored seniors Bunker, West, Dodd, and Kali Sequeira for their contributions to the program.
- Keene State visits Emmanuel College in their final non-conference regular season match on Wednesday, October 24 at 7:00 pm.
- UMass Boston concludes conference play against in-state foe UMass Dartmouth on Tuesday, October 23 at 7:00 pm.