Spikers Split at Emerson College Tri-Match; Open with Five-Set Win Over Lesley

Spikers Split at Emerson College Tri-Match; Open with Five-Set Win Over Lesley
BOSTON--The Western New England University women's volleyball team split two matches on Saturday at Emerson College's Brown Plofker Gymnasium, edging Lesley 25-14, 24-26, 25-17, 23-25, 15-13 in the opener before falling to the host Lions 19-25, 18-25, 16-25 in the nightcap. The Golden Bears now stand at 4-2 on the season.

In the five-set win over the Wildcats, senior co-captain Olivia Lathrop led Western New England with a match-best 13 kills and hit .500 on 22 swings. Senior co-captain Kelsey Armstrong and sophomore Carly Skibinski added 11 kills apiece. Juniors Jessica Sincero and Jenna Leuck had 24 and 21 assists, respectively.

Kaylee Deluga paced Lesley with 11 kills, followed by Anni Abbruzzese and Sarah Hollis with eight each. Emily Marden tallied a match-best 28 assists.

Freshman Emily Woodford provided some instant offense for WNE with five service aces as the team finished with 13. She also led the defense with 18 digs as four teammates reached double-digits, including Leuck with 17.

A Lesley attack error ignited a 10-point run for the Golden Bears, who went from trailing 7-6 in Set 1 to leading comfortably 16-7.

In the second set, the Wildcats overcame a 6-2 deficit to go up eventually 23-21. But WNE fought back to go ahead 24-23, but a service error gave Lesley a side-out to tie it. A pair of Abbruzzese kills tied the match at 1-1.

Western New England hit .297 while holding LC to .143 in the third set, going ahead 2-1.

But the Wildcats forced a fifth and decisive set after squeaking out a 25-23 No. 4 set win on a WNE hitting error.

Like sets two and four, the fifth was a two-point nailbiter. Western New England fell behind 6-3 before tying it at 9-all. The Golden Bears seized control by taking five of the next six points to go up 14-10 as Armstrong had two key kills during that stretch. Lesley threatened by reeling off three points in a row to close within 14-13, taking advantage of two WNE miscues, but Skibinski clinched the match with a kill.

Lathrop also led WNE with nine kills versus the Lions, while Armstrong and Skibinski added seven apiece. Sincero directed the offense with 20 assists to lead all student-athletes.

Jules Augustine had eight kills for Emerson, which outhit the Golden Bears .218 to .122. Elaine Nichols contributed 17 assists and 12 digs.

The Golden Bears had more kills (28-26) and digs (52-39) than the Lions, but hurt themselves by making 17 attack errors, 10 service errors and 14 reception errors.

Freshman Emily Woodford, who had 18 digs in the first match of the day, added 13 to lead all players against Emerson.

Western New England returns to the Alumni Healthful Living Center on Wednesday (7 p.m.) to host Amherst College.