BOSTON, Mass.--The Keene State College volleyball team suffered its first Little East Conference loss with a 3-1 (19-25, 29-27, 21-25, 16-25) defeat to UMass Boston on Wednesday night at the Clark Athletic Gym.
- Keene State: 19-4, 4-1 LEC
- UMass Boston: 9-14, 5-0 LEC
How it Happened
Rachel Lamica had 16 kills, seven digs, four service aces, a solo block, and a block assist. Olivia Mathieu had nine kills and eight digs. Bailey Wilson had 30 kills and 10 digs, a solo block and a block assist, while Riley Bunker registered 21 digs.
The Owls went back-and-forth with the Beacons in the opening set, tying the frame at five on a kill by Mathieu and taking a 9-7 lead on an error by the Beacons' Eileen Shi. A kill from Lamica gave the Owls a 12-10 lead, but UMass Boston went on a 10-2 run for a 20-14 lead. A serving error by Shi cut the lead to 22-18, but the Beacons ended the set on a service ace by Emilia Czapiewska.
The Beacons, who have won seven of the last eight LEC tournament championships, continued the trading of points before the Owls took an 11-8 lead on a kill by Megan Palmer. Mathieu and Lamica teamed up for a block on Rachel Maslach that made it 15-10, but the Beacons scored five of the next six points to trim the lead to 16-15. A kill from Mathieu restored a four point advantage at 20-16, but the Beacons again pulled within one on a KSC error. Lamica's kill brought the Owls to set point at 24-22, only to see the Beacons fight back and score three straight points, going to set point themselves on an error by Lamica.
UMass Boston was again at set point, taking a 27-26 lead on a block by Sarah Doyle, but the Owls tied it again on a Beacons' ball handling error, then took a 28-27 lead on Cydnee Morgan's service ace. Niamh Dodd then stuffed Maslach at the net as the Owls claimed a victory in extra points.
Another close start was on tap for the beginning of the third set, as the Owls edged out to a 14-11 lead on a pair of UMass Boston attacking errors. Following a timeout, the Beacons went on a 7-1 run to take an 18-15 lead before the Owls closed to 20-19 on Megan Palmer's service ace. Dodd and Wilson blocked Shi to cut the lead to 22-20, but the Owls could not find a way back as two errors led to the final two points for the Beacons.
After the Owls took a 7-6 lead to open the fourth set, the Beacons scored six straight points, going up 12-7 on a kill by Shi. The lead grew to 20-11 on a kill by Gibbs, and Keene State got no closer than six the rest of the way.
- Despite the loss, the Owls could still finish as high as the No. 2 seed in the LEC tournament. A win on Saturday vs. Rhode Island College combined with a loss by Plymouth State would lock the Owls into that position. If the Panthers do win their matchup with Western Connecticut State on Saturday, then Keene State will need to beat PSU on October 24 to ensure the No. 2 seed.
- The Owls were seeking their first win over the Beacons since 2008.
- Keene State was held to .073 hitting, their lowest total of the season.
- Keene State closes out its home regular season schedule with a tri-match with Rhode Island College and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts on Saturday,
- October 21, at noon and 4 p.m., respectively. The Owls' lone senior, Rachel Lamica, will be honored for her contributions to the program.
The Beacons travel to Eastern Connecticut State University for a Friday night matchup on October 20 at 7 p.m.