NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – The Eastern Connecticut State University women's volleyball team spotted Bridgewater State University the first three points of the match but went on to score 14 of the final 16 points of the first set en route to a non-conference sweep Saturday evening in a tri-match hosted by Mass College. Scores were 25-14, 25-14, 25-15.
In that set-ending 14-2 run, freshman Alaetra Long (Lincoln, NE) had two kills and two service aces, senior Carly Balskus (Hebron) two kills, senior Michelle Valliere (Lebanon) a service aces and junior Jackie Orlowski (Woodstock) and freshman Abby Stern (Manchester) one kill apiece.
Eastern snapped an early tie in the second set behind consecutive kills from Long, Balskus and Stern and was never headed. In the final set, the Warriors again broke an early tie on kills by sophomore Natalia Rickey (Plainfield) and Stern and Rickey's service ace to move out to an early lead.
In the match, Bridgewater (4-18) attacked at just -.026, with the Warriors closing it out by attacking at .316 in the third set to improve to 10-1 all-time against Bridgewater.
Stern led both teams with 11 kills and a .346 attack percentage and also chipped in 18 digs, second only to Valliere (24). Balskus had seven kills, sophomore setter Mckenzie Maneggia (Andover) 20 assists and ten digs, Long seven kills and four service aces, and Orlowski four blocks.
A winner of seven straight matches and 17 consecutive sets, Eastern (15-6) improved to 9-2 this year away from Geissler Gymnasium with a sweep (25-22, 25-13, 25-16) of host Mass College (7-15) in a late Saturday match. Long (14), Balskus (13) and Stern (9) combined for 36 of the team's 44 kills. Long attacked at .571, Balskus .333 and Stern .316. Stern also had eight digs and three service aces, Long nine digs and three service aces, Orlowski five blocks, Valliere 14 digs, Maneggia 19 assists and junior setter Leah Sopneski (Deep River) 13 assists.
Eastern returns to Little East Conference competition Friday, hosting UMass Boston at 7 p.m. on Seniors' Night. The Beacons, winners of six of the last seven LEC playoff titles, share first place in the LEC with Western Connecticut, both 4-0. The Warriors are 3-1.