By David F.P. [Modest Image Gallery]
NEW HAVEN, CT- The Pace Setters headed up to Pelz Gymnasium to take on the Southern Connecticut Owls in a Northeast 10 conference match up and came away the victors in 3 sets as they were able to take the advantage in set 1, come back from a big deficit in set 2 and battle their way in a back and forth set 3 to the victory. Pace moves to 13-6 and 3-2 in conference while SCSU drops to 14-6 and 4-4 in the NE-10.
Set 1 opened with a 5-1 Pace lead, and they didn’t let up having a big lead all the way to the 25-16 mark. For the visitors offense came about from multiple sources including Nora Rugova who had 4 kills in the first 6 points of the set including some hard shots. Whitney Hilton also added a kill early on, and Tamilee Webb had a block. Later Melanie Pavels got in on the actual with a kill of her own. Shea Hansen picked up her lone kill of the day winning a battle at the net for the ball. Mid set Webb was on fire with two blocks and two kills in short order, and slightly later an errant SCSU pass was whacked back by her for another point. Kelsi Root had a tap to a gap in the owls defense, Pavels served up an ace, and Root and Hilton closed the set with kills.
Offense for SCSU included Megan Hiss having some early kills, Kimberly Lachowicz and Sara Beres shared a block, and soon Megan Lyons began smashing the ball over the net with great ferocity. Beres had some smashes mid set, and Lyons kept at it as well.
In set 2 Southern Connecticut took a 5-1 lead early thanks in part to two kills from Beres, a kill from Hiss, and an ace from Lauren McVey. Pace climbed back in part due to a tap over the front line from Hilton and another block from Webb, but following a great defensive save by Vanessa Sullivan the owls picked up a point off a four contacts error on the Setters and then picked up another point off the visitors attack error Rugova responded for Pace and two other points came their way, with Lyons adding another big spike for SCSU but the score was 8-7. Following an Owls time out they regained the momentum and pulled out to a 19-15 lead.
Scoring during that time included kills from Hiss and McVey, as well Beres smacking the ball off the blockers and straight down. Lachowicz had a put down at the net too. Pace actually picked up numerous points from Southern errors and violations throughout, though Webb tapped the ball through a block and Ursula Vero’s service ace helped keep pace as well. Following a very long rally back and forth however Southern hit the ball out of the bounds to cut their lead to 3, Lyons however got the owls back up with another big kill. However, Pace went on a 4-0 run thanks to three straight kills from Pavels. Southern called a time out but when play resumed they spiked a ball out of play and the score was tied at 20.
Lyons regained the lead by crushing the ball over the net, Syriah Celestine and Hiss shard a block to take a 2 point lead but Pavels returned fire and a SCSU attack error tied it back up. A block from Root and another kill from Pavels put Pace in a good position. McVey whapped the ball off the visitors and to the floor, but Pavels ended it with a kill off the blockers 25-23.
Set 3 was much more of a back and forth affair until late in the set as each team parried to a 14-14 tie. SCSU drew offense from Beres, a block from Hiss and Caelese Brown, and more kills from Beres and Hiss. Lyons landed a spike just in bounds not long after, Hiss used a light touch later, and Beres had a block. Pace drew offense in part from an early kill from Root, Webb continued to be dangerous with a kill of her own, Rugova served up an ace, and Webb followed it with a kill. Brook Speyerer got in on the action with a nicely done back handed kill, Root and Hilton had a tandem block, and Root whapped another shot in later. Hilton had two straight kills, Rugova another tap, and Hilton yet again.
Pace pulled two points ahead thanks to an Owls attack error and a smash from Pavels. Following a good defensive save by Hiss, Beres typhooned an attack of her own in. Though both Speyerer’s kill and a service ace from Webb continued to build the Pace lead. Lyons struck again, though Speyerer added another kill when she received a dig from a teammate and hit it home. Two errors from the home team followed and it was 21-17 Pace didn’t let up and Hilton added another kill Celestine had a spike, and Hiss and Brown shared another block, but Hansen’s kill put her team with 2. Beres added another point but Webb had an attack SCSU could not return and Rugova ended it with a cross court kill and that was that 25-20. Pace took the match 3-0.
Statistically speaking for the visitors, Webb had 10 kills and .348 hit percentage, Pavels had 9 kills, Rugova 8, Hilton 7, and Root 5. Hansen had 33 assists on the day, and libero Elyse Rowland had 25 digs. Webb had 3 solo blocks and Root participated in 3, Hilton shared 2. 4 players each had a service ace. Collectively the team had 15 attack errors on the day.
For the Owls, Beres had 12 kills and a hit percentage of.400, Lyons had 11 kills, and Hiss 9 kills. Lachowicz had 33 assists on the day, and Sullivan had 16 digs, Lyons had 17, and McVey 13. Beres was part of 3 blocks, Hiss was also part of 3, as was Brown. Celestine also was part of 2. 2 players had service aces on the day. The team collectively had 21 attack errors.
Editor’s Note: This is based on notes taken at the match, verified against the official play by play if possible. [Official box score was posted on the official athletics website.] Reports focus on offense since it is easier to track but note defensive play whenever possible. It is difficult to note things like digs and assists although they are no doubt vital to the game. Also, a lot happens in a volleyball game, far more than can fit into a report, so this just notes some of it.
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