By David F.P.
WEST HARTFORD, CT- The Hartford Hawks continued their America East Conference slate by welcoming the similarly attired Stony Brook Seawolves into the gym at Reich Sunday afternoon. In front of an energetic crowd, the Hawks battled to a 3 to 1 win over the Seawolves but each set was a cliffhanger between the two clubs. The Hartford crowd was also quite into it, including standing towards the end of the set and chanting “ole” after the win.
Editor’s Note: As is the case with all my reports, the offensive efforts are the most straightforward to chronicle as they directly result in points, however this does not diminish the defensive efforts, and the assists that set up the offensive plays, they are just much harder to follow. They are noted when possible. It’s a team game with everyone on the floor playing a key role.
Set 1 was a very close as the Hawks edged the Seawolves 25-23.
Highlights for the Hawks included Kami Nethersole’s ace, Dionna Kirton’s kill, a pair of points following soon afterward, later Michelle Cordell spiked it in but it was not return, Nethersole had a great diving save though Stony Brook got the points on a back and forth, later, Nethersole struck again, Sydney Scott and Lindsay Anderson shared a block, Scott later whipped it in to the corner, as the score continued to be tied, Kirton had a kill off the blockers of the floor, Cordell sent the ball to the back corner to keep the set tied, Anderson lined up and smashed a kill in that landed cross court, Nethersole’s attack was hit by a Seawolf back over and out of play, Scott smashed the ball into the back gap, Anderson put the ball down at the net, Scott had a cross court attack, Kirton struck again, and another point would follow, an attack error put the Hawks over the top for the set win.
For the Seawolves Ashley Headen opened up their scoring with a kill, later Alicia Nelson had a jumping spike in, and she served up an ace on the following point, Evann Slaughter scored the next Stony Brook point. They kept pace with the Hawks, until Headen smashed a ball just in bounds to take the lead, though the tie back and forth kept going, Slaughter received a set and slammed it in, she absolutely crushed the ball over soon afterward, and picked up a block not long after that, Greta Strenger smacked down an errant Hartford overpass that sailed over the net, a few points later, Kaitlin Costello whammed a ball off a Hawk and out of play, later Headen had a good defensive save which would keep the ball alive on the way to a point, she put over a Hartford overpass as well, and Nelson followed it up with a kill. Slaughter and Strenger shared a block for the last point of the set.
Set 2 was also incredibly close with Stony Brook pulling off the win 25-22 over their hosts.
Highlights for Stony Brook included Nelson’s hard spike in early on, after a Hartford run of points, Slaughter added a kill to break the scoring run, Jeanette Gibbs served up an Ace not long afterward, Headen added a block, Nelson crushed an attack, and another big kill would follow to put them within 1, they would keep going and fight to stay tied, on one rally, both Kelsey Sullivan and Gibbs had a defensive save to keep it in play and Nelson added the kill, Headen added a service ace, and the Seawolves took a lead. Following a time out, Nelson had sliced the ball just in bounds, Slaughter and Strenger had a tandem block, and Slaughter added a solo one of her own to pull her team ahead again, Headen kept the lead going with a tap over, later another point followed, and Headen struck again, and yet again…and again…before a Hartford error would be their final point for the set win.
For the Hawks Scott opened the scoring, later she would add a kill and an Ace, followed by Cordell’s HUGE kill to end a long rally, Lindsay Ford put down a ball at the net as the Hawks build a lead, Kirton struck again, and Nethersole and Cordell shared a block to keep the lead going, Danielle Etta had a good defensive save but the point went to Stony Brook, Nethersole smashed an attack through the blockers, Etta would have another key dig though also on a rally that went SB’s way, Nethersole sent the ball into a gap just in bounds, with Stony Brook leading, Kirton hammered an attack over and in to tie it back up. Later Cordell struck again, Ford came up with a block, later Kirton had a key defensive save, and Nethersole struck, and later added a cross court kill, though that would be the last of U of H’s points for the set.
Set 3 was also won by a razor thin margin as Hartford took it 25 to 23.
Highlights for Hartford included Scott opening scoring with a block, Kirton added a smash, and another kill right afterward, Cordell hit a blast not long after, a good save by Nethersole set up eventually a Cordell whap off the defense,later Anderson picked up another kill, later Etta kept the ball in play by basically rolling into her team’s seats to get to the ball, though SB got the points, Kirton picked up a block, and some Seawolves errors gave them a lead, Nethersole had a tap in, and Anderson added a block, following that Cordell served up an Ace off the D’s hands into the seats, and Anderson received a set and slammed it in, and she would strike again, Scott put the team with 1 of the win, and despite a Stony Brook comeback Nethersole typhooned an attack in to end the set.
And for Stony Brook Gibbs and Sullivan teamed up on another good save early on though U of H got the point, Slaughter sent the ball over with a whap and it was not returned, later she sent an attack blasting through the block, and struck again, Strenger served up an ace not long afterward, and added a block, Sullivan had a kill as well, Headen added a smash through the block, Nelson added a kill, and Headen pounced on an overpass, later came Nelson’s attack, Nelson hit another smash through the block, Gibbs had a great diving save though Hartford picked up the points, Slaughter had a nother kill, and another one not long after, and Headen added a block, and later a kill off the blockers out of play, and Sullivan added another point, later Headen had three straight kills but that would be it for the Seawolves in the set.
The decisive set 4 was also very close but Hartford held on for the 25-23 win of the set and match.
Hartford Highlights included Anderson and Scott sharing a block to open the scoring, Anderson sent a kill off the blockers, Cordell added a smash, Taylor McCreery had a good diving save though SB ended up with a point, Cordell added a HUGH smash after getting a set from Ford, Ford then redirected a spike in for another point, and Cordell sent another kill over, Nethersole came up with an amazing point as she dove to get to the ball before it hit the ground, it sailed over the net and to a gap in the defensive front line, Anderson added a light tip in, Scott had a block a few points later Kirton added to Hartford’s lead, and she added a block immediately afterward, Cordell launched a rocket, and not long after Scott had another kill, and Kirton landed an attack just within the lines, Ford won a joust with a Seawolves player at the net, Nethersole added a smash, another point would follow though a Stony Brook attack error led to the Hawks’ victory.
And for the Seawolves; Nelson opened the scoring with a kill, another point would follow, Gibbs had a good dig though Hartford pick up a point, Strenger added a kill that popped off the D, Gibbs had a service ace, and on the next serve it was also not returned, she had a diving save during the next back and forth Strenger added a kill just in bounds, Headen came up with a smash, as the set progressed Headen’s blocked to tie it at 16. Later Kaitlin Costello scored a kill and Headen’s block brought the team within 1, she then whapped an attack over, later Slaughter struck again, and later Strenger kept the team within 1 before the Hawks closed the door.
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