By David F.P.
WILLIMANTIC, CT- The Eastern Connecticut State Warriors welcomed in the in-state opponent the Wesleyan Cardinals on Wednesday night in a close contest that would eventually go Wesleyan’s way 3 sets to 1.
Editor’s Note: As always these reports are very offensive focused, this is not meant to take away from the defensive efforts and the cooperative efforts that each player is making, as they are all critical to a team’s success. It’s just a matter of what can be followed and relayed. Many defensive plays and key assists can be missed in the heat of the play.
Set 1 went the way of the Cardinals as Wesleyan romped to a 25-15 set 1 lead.
For Wesleyan highlights included Casey Reed’s block, and her attack which hacked through a block, Kim Farris tapped over a block attempt and her team was soon out to a 7-0 lead prompting an ECSU time out. Reed struck again with a fast moving attack, and Farris added a block, and then a tap in, followed by Alissa Santucci’s spike to put the team up 11 to 3, and she added insult to injury with a service ace, a few points later Monica Leslie received a set and nailed it over the net, followed by Reed’s cross court kill, Farris and Laura Yim shared a block to put the team up by 10, Santucci delivered a wallop, and also picked up the team’s 20th point with a hit in, she then teamed with Farris on a block for point 21, the team closed it out in a variety of ways including Yim’s set ending wham over the net.
For Eastern, Katie Wilson landed an attack just in bounds on two successive plays early on, after an Eastern comeback, Julie Forler whipped the ball off a defender and to the floor, Forler’s attack for their 9th point was blocked out of bounds, Shannon Burke’s block was not returned, Wilson had a put down to cut the Wesleyan lead to 7, Erynn Miller and Wilson shared a block for another point very late,
Set 2 would be won by the Warriors, but not without extra points for a 28-26 score.
For ECSU, Wilson and Shannon Burke shared a block for the first Warrior point of the set, late a teammate would use a fake set to hit it over where the defense wasn’t expecting, Rachel Joy had a good defensive save which eventually led to a Burke attack in with success, Wilson also served up an Ace followed by Miller’s kill off a defender, and later Joy ricocheted a ball off a Cardinal to pick up a point, Forler’s kill was successful to keep the lead at 4, Wilson ended a Wesleyan run with 2 successive kills, Burke and Wilson then shared a block, and Burke scored one for a 6 point lead, Wilson also won a battle at the net for the 17th point, and Britt Carrier’s misdirection set attack picked up point 18, Wilson’s ace added a 19th, during a long rally, Taylor Abelli and Joy each had defensive saves though the point went WU’s way, the team got back up 3 with a Burke service ace late, Carrier put the team back up, Joy’s rocket tied the set up as the point exchange went on, Abelli regained the lead for the Warriors with a service ace, after Wesleyan tied it up, she hit an an attack just in play, with the score tied at 26 Wilson’s missile landed just in bounds, and a Wesleyan attack error sealed the set.
For Wesleyan, Santucci picked up another kill early, laterLesley Faulkner had a block, and Santucci struck yet again, Leslie got a set at the net and blasted it home to keep building a comeback, later Santucci came up with another kill, the Cardinals continued to be a run to pull within 2, Kate Centofanti sliced a ball through the blockers to end Eastern’s run, Faulkner lined a ball just within the bounds line, after a short Eastern run, the Cardinals fought back with Farris crushing the ball through the block, an Eastern antenna miscue, Leslie’s smash, a great diving save by Santucci paid off as Faulker whammed it in, followed by a save by Yim which set up another Faulkner blast, and she followed that up again to pull the team within one, after Eastern took a lead again, they fought back with a block, an ECSU miscue, and Ruby Hernandez had a save during a long back and forth which was followed by the dangerous Faulkner’s spike to tie things up, Yim had a defensive play that kept things alive though Eastern got the point, later Wesleyan caught up and took the lead thanks to Leslie’s spike which hit a defender and flew out of play, Reed’s spike through the blocking line tied the score back up, Hernandez’s great diving save did not lead to a point on the next play, but was solid nonetheless, however, then Reed struck again for their last point of the set.
Set 3 was another romp for Wesleyan as they won 25-15
For the Cardinals, Farris attacked off the blockers, and Santucci pounced on an overpass, and she later tied it with a big time spike, Faulkner’s block tied things up again and, and Santucci sent an ace just in bounds for a lead, Reed launched a rock to start off another run that included a Stephanie Hucker service ace, the team was now off to the races on a huge run, including Leslie’s spike, Hernandez’s save setting up Reed and Leslie’s shared block, Hucker and Yim each having a good defensive save before Leslie came up with the block, Reed would strike again to put the team up by 7, and her next spike went off a Warrior and far out of play, Yim put another poin ton the board with her whack from the net, to keep the lead up, after Easten closed with 2, 2 miscues and Yim’s ace got the lead back up there, and more points would followed incluiding from Farris, it would be Faulkner’s blast that ended the set after a back and forth run.
For Eastern, Miller’s kill put her team on the board, Burke joined in on the spiking and added a service ace, Forler shared a block with a teammate, Miller took care of the lead with a whap to tie it, a good diving save by Miller could not stop a big Wesleyan run, ECSU finally blunted it with Forler’s hit through, and another point followed as did Carrier’s ace, and another point, Eastern went on a run thanks to Burke, picking up 2 kills among other points, Forler had a rare late offensive point, and Gianna Trombino had a good defensive save late, though for no points, even on set point Carrier had a key save, but Wesleyan took it.
Set 4 would be a tight set until Wesleyan eeked out a 25-23 win but not before the score went to 23.
Wesleyan highlights included among other things, Leslie’s block, and Santucci’s serve which was not returned, Leslie then sent a kill in that hit 3 defenders but none of them could get back over the net, with her team down Faulkner pulled the team back within 2 with her rocket over the net, Farris had an ace up her sleeve to cut the deficit to 1, both Santucci’s kill and Leslie’s block at the net tied it up, Faulkner then had a block and Yim and Leslie did two for the third straight block and a 2 point lead, Faulkner’s kill landed just within the line to regain the lead, and bounds, Santucci sent hard attack flying off the finger tip.
For Eastern, Wilson’s attack hit the blockers and was not returned, she later added another kill early, then Forler added her kill, Joy kept up the pace with a point, then came Wilson again, and Joy again, Burke’s cross court wham had an effect, ECSU tied it back up at 15, Reed’s spike found daylight, and a point later she hammered it in and she also had a precision shot just in , late Carrier came up with a block to prevent a surprise move, Faulkner had another block as well, Miller attacked too, Burke and Forler got in on the balloting action, Santucci regained the lead, and Farris’ service ace ended it.
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