KEENE, N.H. - For the second consecutive Saturday, the Keene State College volleyball team won every set of a tri-match at Spaulding Gym. This time, the Owls defeated Eastern Connecticut State University 3-0 (25-15, 25-10, 25-23) to open conference play before knocking off Husson University by the same score (25-15, 25-17, 25-20).
- Keene State: 10-3, 1-0 LEC
- Eastern Connecticut: 5-4, 0-1 LEC
- Husson: 1-6
How It Happened - Eastern Connecticut
Megan Palmer paced the Owls with 13 kills and nine digs. Riley Bunker had 21 digs as she continues to move up the ranks on the all-time school list, and Bailey Wilson had 34 assists and ten digs as KSC opened Little East action with a sweep.
Eastern Connecticut held a slim 9-8 lead after consecutive Keene errors in the opening set, but the Owls quickly took control, scoring four straight points capped by a Palmer kill for a 12-9 lead that forced a Warriors timeout. That did not stop the surge, though, as KSC added three more punctuated by a kill from Niamh Dodd for a six-point advantage. ECSU got within 16-12, but the Owls reeled off six more points in a row to effectively put the set away. Consecutive kills by Jennifer Severino and Olivia Mathieu gave KSC the 25-15 win.
Keene State never trailed in the second set, scoring six of the first eight points to take the upper hand early. The Warriors rallied, getting within 8-7 on kills by Alaetra Long and Caryn Sibiskie, but the Owls ran away from there, getting a kill and an ace from Kelly Hunt for a 12-8 advantage. After a timeout, ECSU got within three only to see KSC score a whopping twelve consecutive points for a 24-9 gap. The Owls had seven kills during the span, three from Dodd. Another kill from her ended the lopsided set that saw Keene outhit ECSU .333 to .047.
The Owls got out to leads of 6-2 and 10-5 in the third, but Eastern Connecticut came back, getting to within 14-13 on a kill by Sibiskie. They eventually tied the set and took an 18-17 lead on a kill from Abby Stern. Trailing by two (20-18) out of a timeout, KSC scored seven of the final ten points to secure the sweep. A kill from Hunt tied the set at 20 and, later, one from Mathieu made it 22-22. An ECSU service error gave the Owls match point, and a kill from Mathieu ended things and gave KSC their fifth straight win, all by 3-0 scores. The Owls outhit the Warriors .218 to .029 in the match.
How It Happened - Husson
The Owls had the advantage in nearly every statistical category in a rare meeting with the Eagles. Ali McLoughlin had ten kills, nine digs and a pair of service aces while hitting .476 in the match. Kait West had 16 digs and a service ace. Nina Dias had 15 assists and five digs. KSC held Husson to .033 hitting in the match.
Keene State was in command throughout, as they opened the initial set by scoring 17 of the first 21 points. During the span, they had runs of four, five, and seven consecutive points. Emilyann Ashford served up six of the seven consecutive points, which included a service ace. McLoughlin also had two kills. The closest Husson got for the remainder of the first was 23-15, and pair of Eagle errors ended the set.
The second set followed a similar script in the early going, as a kill by Cydnee Morgan and an ace from McLoughlin helped KSC out to a 9-2 lead. It was still a 10-3 score, but Husson chipped away, getting to within 11-7 and 17-15 later in the set. However, a kill by Kali Sequeira got the Owls back on the right track, and Keene State pulled away again. A kill from McLoughlin put KSC up six (22-16) and, a short time thereafter, kills by Sequeira and another from McLoughlin had the Owls up 2-0 in the match.
The Eagles took their first lead of the entire match to begin the third set, but Keene State got consecutive aces from Bunker to edge back out in front 5-3. They extended the lead to four on two different occasions after a kill from Palmer and another from Mathieu. Trailing 11-7, Husson did not go down without a fight, as a kill from Hanna Hembrow made it 15-14. However, that's as close as they got, as kills from Palmer and Hunt to go along with an Eagle attack error made it a four-point differential (19-15). Still leading 23-20, the Owls secured the sweep by scoring the next two points, including a kill by Hunt.
- The Owls beat Eastern Connecticut for the third consecutive time, sweeping all three matches. It was the first meeting with Husson since 2005.
- Keene State improved to 5-0 at home, having won all 15 sets. The Owls are 15-1 in their last 16 home matches.
- Bunker recorded 24 digs on the day and now needs 223 to surpass Sarah Peterson '08 for first on the all-time KSC list.
- Keene State travels to Worcester State University for a 7:00 pm match on Tuesday, September 18.
- Eastern Connecticut visits UMass Boston in conference action on Friday, September 21 at 7:00 pm.
- Husson takes on their third consecutive Little East opponent when they host the University of Southern Maine on Wednesday, September 19 at 7:00 pm.