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Sacred Heart Invitational: Providence College Friars vs. St. Francis College (N.Y.) Terriers

As usual I attempt to be as accurate as possible regarding accounts of this match, and in terms of terminology. I try to add defensive plays when I can but I can only write so fast. The exclusion of most defensive plays is merely a time issue and I will keep trying to cover it more. There are no doubt a lot of excellent defensive players, and assist makers that these reports don’t cover, but I do my best.

The second game of the Sacred Heart Invitational that I took in involved a team I had seen before, the Providence Friars, and a team I hadn’t in the Terriers of SFC. My first impression of the Friars when I had seen them last was that of a fiery team that, and I use this in a relative sense since volleyball overall is a fiery energetic sport to begin with.

Providence pulled out to a 5-2 lead, and Jeannette Toney added to it by tapping a ball in at the net to make it 6-2 for the Friars. PC would hit it into the net on the next play to make it 6-3, and knock it into the net again for a 6-4 score. St. Francis would pick up another point to make it 6-5, and SFC’s Diana Colon would spike a ball over that the defense knocked out of bounds making it a tie game 6-6.

PC’s Sarah Fleming picked up a kill by smashing a spike off the defense to regain the lead, but the Terriers responded with a spike of their own just in bounds to the corner and it was 7-7. Providence’s Abby Majewski picked up a point with a spike that literally bounced off two SFC defenders, like a pinball. St. Francis would get another point when Providence hit it out of bounds on the next rally however, and another error would follow to make it 8-9. A time out was called, but after it, SFC kept scoring, reaching 8-12. On the next play, Thalita Paladino picked up another point for the Terriers when her spike was knocked by PC onto the scorer’s table. Jadelyn Castillo had been serving during the scoring run and she added to the lead with an ace despite the diving attempt by the Providence defense. The run came to an end though when Providence’s Elizabeth Flynn smashed a ball in for a kill. With it 9-14, Detelina Dimitrova brought St. Francis another point when she hit it over. Providence had a good initial set, but somehow the ball didn’t get returned. PC’s Aida Cadres responded with a smash through a block to the floor to make it 10-15. St. Francis would hit a return over and out of bounds on the next point but Paladino would gain them a point back when she spiked a ball into the right gap of the Providence defense. Flynn would respond with a huge spike off the St. Francis Defense, and teammate Toney would have a spike of her own from the PC right to the defense right to make it 13-16.

Following that, a big rally ensued until Colon’s spike was block by the Friars out of bounds. Dimitrova then served a ball in that the defense hit out of bounds for an ace. Providence would give up another point when they spiked a ball over and out of bounds and Castillo would score for the Terriers when she hit a ball over that the D couldn’t return. St. Francis would hit a ball out on the next play and it was 14-20. Colon would then spike a ball in to the floor to make it 14-21. Providence would gain a point on the Terriers hitting into the net, though Castillo would knock a big spike untouched to the providence right corner for a to add to the lead. She would follow that up on the next play by setting a ball into the gap and it was 15-23.

The tide would turn however in favor of the black, grey, and white of Providence as Majewski spiked a ball in and SFC failed to block it. The Terriers would then spike a return into the net. Following that, Toney’s serve bounced off the defense and out of bounds resulting in an Ace. Flynn would hit a ball over to a gap and the score was 19-23. A time out was called not surprisingly.

When play resumed a big rally broke out, but St. Francis hit the ball into the net and it was 20-23. The Terriers stopped the scoring run when Paladino spiked a ball that was either barely touched, or not touched at all by the defense. On the next play Majewski and Flynn would block a ball in for a point, and SFC would follow that with a knock into the net, and again hit it into the net on the next rally. It was now 23-45.

Providence’s Cadres would spike a kill in on the next play to tie the score at 24. Her teammate Sara Sheehan would tap the ball into the gap to give PC the lead. On the next play I believe PC committed some sort of error, but I can’t confirm what it is, and my accounts differ from the official play by play, though not the final score. Whether St. Francis scored a point or not would not help in the end as Providence would score five more times. Cadres smashed a spike off the defense, and Flynn did the same. SFC it a ball out of bounds to make it 28-25. Sarah Fleming picked up a spike for PC as well and two more points would finish the game at 30-25, or 30-24 depending on which version is correct. PC 1, SFC 0.

Providence exploded off the start of game 2, when Fleming, spiked a ball in for the first point. Sheehan than served a ball in which bounced off the D for the ace. St. Francis knocked the ball out of bounds to give PC a 3-0 lead. SFC’s Colon would tap a ball into a gap in the front defense to pick up a point for the Terriers, and a pair of errors for PC would even the score at 3-3. St. Francis served into the net to give up their advantage, but would spike a ball just inbounds that had been avoided by the defense to tie the game back up. SFC would serve a ball which PC would not be able to set well enough for a return and an ace was the result.

PC’s Toney responded with a hit that was knocked out of bounds by the defense to the tie the game at five. Majewski and Toney would then block a ball in for a point, and do the same on the next play to give PC a 7-5 lead. The Friars would serve out of bounds to make it 7-6, but they would catch fire after that. Fleming spiked a ball into a gap to make it 8-6. Another point would follow, and Sheehan would pick up another point on a spike. SFC hit it out of bounds and it was now 11-6.

The terriers responded with a runoff their own tapping it in for a seventh point, and Dimitrova tapped another attack in to a gap in the D as well. Sarah Bailey served a ball over and PC couldn’t set up a return, the ace and the point were awarded to St. Francis, and it was now 11-9. PC’s Toney spiked it in to start off another Friar scoring run. A big rally came during the next point but Flynn knocked a ball off the D for a point. Another big rally followed, but Providence picked up the point. They would hit a return into the net on the next rally to bring the score to 14-10.

Flynn responded to the SFC point by smashing a ball to a gap in the defense. SFC’s front line blocked a all in for a point, and a Providence defensive error lead to a 15-12 score. Dimitrova picked up an ace on the next play and it was 15-13. A time out followed to provide a brief break in this hard fought contest.

When the game resumed Providence caught fire yet again starting with Cadres spiking a ball just in bounds, and following that up by hitting a ball to a gap in the front zone of the defense. Flynn then spiked a ball off of the D which sailed out of bounds. Sheehan served a ball in for an ace when St. Francis couldn’t set up the return. The Terriers would give PC another point when they spiked a ball out of bounds. The Providence run would come to and with a serve into the net and it was 20-14. SFC’s Erin O’Shaughnessy then picked up an ace when her serve was knocked backwards by the PC defense. Cadres spiked a kill off the St. Francis defense, but St. Francis tapped a ball in to score a point themselves. Toney then spiked a ball to a defensive hole and it was 22-16.

The Terriers picked up a point off the Friars hitting into the net, but they in turn served into the net. PC then spiked two straight balls over and out of bounds, and committed a two hit error. The score was now 23-20. Castillo then served a ball that the diving defense couldn’t return and it was 23-21 following the ace. A time out was called.

Play started up again and Toney spiked a ball to the gap. Majewski had a huge spike pass the defense to the corner on the next play, and SFC would know a ball out of bounds to make it 26-21. Dimitrova tapped a ball in to score the Terriers another point however, SFC would serve the ball into the net, and then hit a return into the net as well and it was 28-22. Flynn then ended the match with two big spikes in succession for a 30-22, Providence victory. PC 2, SFC 0.

Game three began with a Providence four hits error, a big rally would end in another error and a score of 0-2. Flynn would put the Friars on the board when she tapped a ball in, and she would pick up a point when her block wasn’t seen by the St. Francis defender until it hit the ground. Providence served the ball out of bounds though and it was 2-3. Flynn spiked a ball over and the Terriers hit it out of bounds to even the score at 3. Needless to say, Providence has a lot of weapons, and Flynn would seem to be a very dangerous one. Her teammates would join on the scoring and block a ball to the floor. Fleming would spike a kill of her own just I bounds from the PC left to the SFC left.

St. Francis picked up another point though, though PC would win a sixth point after that. O’Shaughnessy would score for the Terriers with a kill. Castillo had a kill as well when her hit bounced off the defense. The score was now 6-6, though Fleming would spike an attack to the gap to make it 7-6. Majewski added to that with a spike off the defense as well. A big rally ended with St. Francis hitting a ball out of bounds. A big rally would end in another PC point. Providence served into the net though, and spiked a ball out of bounds as well. St. Francis spiked a ball out of bounds on the next rally and the score was 11-8 before a referee induced stoppage occurred.

Flynn tapped the ball in at an angle and the defense knocked it out when play resumed. SFC hit the all into the net, to add to the Providence lead. The St. Francis defense had some good saves but PC ended up with the point on the next play as well. SFC would pick up a point on the next play, but serve it into the net. At 15-9 a big rally ensued, ended when Dimitrova hit it in and a diving D couldn’t get the return. St. Francis would get to 15-11 when PC had a 2 hit error, and 15-12, when Bailey aced a ball of the defense on her serve.

PC responded when Flynn had a huge smash. On the next play though Dimitrova would knock a ball over, and the Friars kept setting the ball backwards rather than forward until they ran out of hits. Flynn had yet another spike in to make it 17-13, and a SFC would give up another point on the next rally. St. Francis ended the next point when they hit a ball just in bounds to bring the game to 18-14.

St. Francis would score again, though Fleming came up with a huge spike to a gap right afterward. Cadres then snagged an ace when her serve couldn’t get set up correctly by the Terriers. Providence scored again and then again when Toney spiked a ball untouched to a gap in the back zone, and then again when Fleming spiked it in and the defense return flew out of bounds. With the score 24-14, the Friars spiked a ball out, though St. Francis served into the net following that. PC spiked a ball over for another point, and SFC hit it into the net on the next rally. Providence scored again when the antenna was hit by a Terriers return I believe. Toney got the kill and the 28th point for the Friars. With it 28-16, Sara Sheehan spiked it into the gap for the next point from the net and it was 29-16. SFC’s Castillo tapped a ball into a gap in the front PC zone to bring it to 29-18, and PC would hit a ball out of bounds on their side as well. But Toney would end the game and the match with a spike. The score was 30-18. PC 3, SFC 0.

(Based on my eyewitness account though I do glance at the play by play for verification.)