KEENE, N.H. - The Keene State College volleyball team posted their 15th sweep of the season as they beat Western New England University 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-18) on Thursday evening at Spaulding Gym.
- Keene State: 18-5
- Western New England: 8-13
How It Happened
The Owls racked up 42 kills against 14 errors, hitting .277 while winning their fifth straight match. Niamh Dodd led KSC with 12 kills and two digs, while Megan Palmer had nine digs and eight kills. Kelly Hunt also had eight kills. Olivia Mathieu had 15 digs and Riley Bunker 13 as she moves closer to the school record. Western New England was limited to .065 hitting in the match.
Keene State got off to a quick start in the opening frame, but saw the Golden Bears come back to take the lead before the Owls used a late burst to claim the set. A kill from Dodd in the early-going helped KSC double up WNE 10-5. Two kills from Dodd and one from Mathieu, along with a Golden Bear attacking error, still had the Owls up 14-9, but WNE rallied from there, tying the set at 16 on a KSC error. The Bears eventually went ahead 19-17 on an ace by Jenna Ferguson and a Keene setting error, but the Owls roared back, scoring eight of the last nine points. Dodd (two kills), Mathieu (one kill, one ace), and Palmer (one kill) shined during the surge.
The second set was relatively similar to the first. Palmer and Dodd each had two more kills as KSC scored seven of the first nine points. Western New England again came back, though, as a kill by Ferguson tied it 8-8. Keene State retaliated by scoring seven of the next eight, six through kills, to go back in front 15-9. The Golden Bears had one final run in them, as a kill from Hailey McDonnell and a KSC error brought WNE within 17-15, but the Owls had little trouble closing the set. Three straight Western New England attack errors made it 22-16, and later, kills from Hunt and Elizabeth Johnson helped give KSC a 2-0 lead in the match.
The Golden Bears started fast in the third frame, but Keene State steadily took control after that. A pair of aces from Jenna McCormack fueled a 6-1 opening run for WNE, but KSC was right back to even (9-9) thanks to three kills from Johnson and one from Palmer. Western New England restored a 14-11 advantage, but four straight Owl points put Keene State ahead for the first time in the set. A kill from Johnson and two more from Hunt widened the KSC lead to 20-16, and the Owls ended the match after yet one more kill apiece from Hunt and Dodd. Keene State wound up scoring eight of the final ten points to polish off the sweep.
- Bunker now has 1822 career digs, needing just 62 more to become KSC's all-time leader.
- The Owls improved to 9-0 at home this season, winning all but one match at Spaulding Gym in straight sets.
- Keene State gained a measure of revenge after falling to WNE each of the past two seasons, including 3-0 last year in Springfield.
- Keene State has a tri-match at Western Connecticut State University on Saturday, October 13. The Owls first take on the Colonials in LEC action at 12:00 pm before taking on SUNY Potsdam at 2:00 pm. KSC, currently 4-1 in the Little East, sits in a close battle with Eastern Connecticut State University (5-1), UMass Boston (4-1), and Rhode Island College (3-1) for the top spot in the league.
- Western New England will go to Wheaton College (Mass.) on the same day for a tri-match with the Lyons and the University of New England at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm, respectively.