BOSTON, Mass. - The Keene State College volleyball team outhit UMass Boston .189 to .184 and had 21 more digs, but the Owls were swept 3-0 (22-25, 18-25, 23-25) in Little East action Saturday afternoon at the Clark Athletic Center.
- Keene State: 20-8, 4-3 LEC
- UMass-Boston: 8-16, 5-2 LEC
How It Happened
Sydney Johnson led the Owls, posting her second consecutive double-double, piling up 10 kills against just one error to go along with 10 digs, one solo block and two block assists. Emilyann Ashford and Ali McLoughlin each finished with nine kills. McLoughlin added seven digs. Bailey Wilson had 32 assists and nine digs, and Olivia Mathieu had a match-high 26 digs. UMass-Boston was led by Marcelle Tiscareno's 12 kills, while Sarah Doyle had 11, three aces and three solo blocks. The Beacons had 10 service aces as a team, eight more than KSC.
It was a strong start early for the Owls, who went up 7-3 in the opening set after Elizabeth Johnson and Kelly Hunt teamed up to block McKayla Geraghty, and later 10-5 after a Beacon attack error. UMass-Boston got back in it, chipping the deficit to two three different times, but KSC appeared to retake command with a 5-1 run for a 17-11 lead. A kill from Hunt still had the Owls up 18-14, but the visitors scored just four more points in the rest of the frame. Five straight points put UMass-Boston ahead 19-18, their first lead all day, and Keene State never was ahead again. KSC tied the set twice more, and got within 23-22 after a pair of kills, but the Beacons scored the final two points.
The second set was back-and-forth early on, but UMB broke away from an 8-8 tie by scoring six of seven points for a 14-9 lead, finishing with two aces from Alex Qose. KSC never got closer than three after that. An attack error by Geraghty had the Owls within 15-12, but the hosts quickly pushed their edge back up to 20-14 with four kills and an ace. One of Sydney Johnson's ten kills made it 22-17, but the Beacons had no trouble, as two consecutive spikes brought up set point, and after a service error, Doyle's kill put the home team up 2-0 in the match.
With a lot of work to do, the Owls did gain the upper hand early in the third frame with an 8-5 opening run before a kill from McLoughlin and a ball handling error by UMB's Sidnee Berch still had KSC in front 10-7. The Beacons answered, rattling off seven of the next nine points for a 14-12 lead, but the Owls immediately responded with three kills by Johnson and one from Ashford fueling a 5-1 run that put the visitors right back up by two (17-15). However, the next time KSC scored, they found themselves down by four, as UMass-Boston scored seven consecutive points for a 22-17 edge. The Owls did rally, as another kill from Johnson capped off a 5-0 run of their own to lock the score at 22, but Keene State could not get over the hump, as UMB tallied the next two to bring up match point. A Berch service error kept the Owls in it for the moment, but a Geraghty kill on the next point ended the match.
- The match was the first between the two teams since last year's Little East Conference tournament semifinals, a 3-1 win for the Owls at Willimantic, Conn. KSC has not won in Boston since 2008.
- With the loss, Keene State sits in a fifth place tie at 3-2 in the conference with the University of Southern Maine, who is the Owls' final conference opponent. KSC will need a win and help from around the conference to host a Little East tournament quarterfinal matchup on November 5.
- Mathieu, who continues to rank in the top 30 nationally in both total digs and digs per set, now needs just 16 more to move into sole possession of fifth on Keene State's all-time digs list.
- The Owls return home for a non-conference match against Westfield State University on Wednesday, October 30 at 7:00 pm.
- UMass-Boston visits Western Connecticut State University on the same day and time for an important conference match.