KEENE, N.H. - Sydney Johnson continued her late season surge and, with it, the Keene State College volleyball team got back in the win column with a 3-0 sweep (25-10, 25-18, 25-11) of Westfield State University in non-conference action Wednesday night at Spaulding Gymnasium.
- Keene State: 21-8
- Westfield State: 11-16
How It Happened
Johnson, who had compiled 20 kills and 33 digs last week while being named the LEC Rookie of the Week, had another strong showing, compiling a career-high 15 kills on .268 hitting to go along with 13 digs. KSC also received nine kills on .421 hitting from Kelly Hunt and eight kills and eight digs from Ali McLoughlin. Olivia Mathieu had a match-high 25 digs, while Bailey Wilson finished with 30 assists, seven digs and four kills. Westfield's Lizzie Taylor recorded 24 digs, but nobody on WSU had more than five kills.
KSC was hardly ever threatened over the course of the evening, and they were off and running to an 8-3 lead in the opening set, never looking back after that. Elizabeth Johnson's service ace widened the gap to 11-4, and the New Hampshire side of Owls was quickly up double-digits (15-5) after four consecutive attack errors by Westfield, one of which came as a result of Sydney Johnson's block. WSU did not crack double-digits until Keene State already had 23 points, and the hosts closed out a 25-10 first frame win after Hunt's kill.
Westfield hung around far longer in the second, but Keene State pulled away in the end to take a commanding lead in the match. A pair of Sydney Johnson spikes early on helped KSC score seven of the first 10 points, but an ace from Shawna Crowley brought WSU within 8-7, and the visitors kept the deficit at one five different times after that, the last of which coming at 16-15 after Olivia Elie blocked Kelly Hunt's swing, her only error on the night. Sydney Johnson's pair of kills an and ace from Kelly Hunt broke the set open, as Keene State scored five straight and led 21-15, forcing a Westfield timeout. The Massachusetts Owls never got closer than five after that, and a Bailey Wilson kill put the finishing touches on a 25-18 set win.
The third frame was much more like the first, as KSC used a mammoth 19-4 surge to erase any doubt, turning a very brief 5-4 deficit into a wide 23-9 edge. Kelly Hunt and Sydney Johnson each had a pair of kills when Keene State scored seven straight points for a six point lead. Westfield temporarily made it 11-8 with three straight, but the KSC offense continued to hum, as they racked up four kills and added a block for good measure, while rattling off seven more in a row yet again. Leading 18-9, the home team had no trouble from there, as six of the final seven points came off of kills, including McLoughlin's to end the night.
Keene State outhit Westfield by a wide .287 to -.014 margin. KSC hit at least .242 in every set, including .311 in the third, while Westfield hit .073 or worse in every frame.
- In her last three games, Sydney Johnson has now racked up 35 kills while making just five errors. She also has contributed 46 digs and seven total blocks in that span.
- Mathieu's 25 digs on the evening move her career total to 1,239 and vault her into fifth on KSC's all-time list in that category. Also, her 591 this season are the fourth-most in a single-season for an Owl.
- Keene State leads the all-time series with Westfield 26-8, which includes two victories this year.
- KSC wraps up their home regular season with a tri-match against the University of Southern Maine and Lasell University on Saturday, November 2 starting at 12:00 pm. The match against the Huskies will determine the fifth and sixth seeds for next week's conference tournament, with the winner getting No. 5. Keene State cannot finish any higher than that after Western Connecticut State University beat UMass-Boston in five sets this evening.
- Westfield State visits MASCAC opponent Massachusetts Maritime Academy on the same day at 5:00 pm.