DANBURY, Conn. – Junior outside hitter Kamari King racked up a match-high 17 kills, while classmate Jenna Skerritt dished out 35 assists to lead the Western Connecticut State University women's volleyball team to a Little East Conference sweep of Eastern Connecticut State University Tuesday evening at The Westside Athletic Complex. Set scores were 25-22, 25-15, 25-22.
With an opportunity to take over sole possession of third place and secure a first-round home match when the Little East playoffs begin next Tuesday by defeating struggling Western Connecticut (7-19, 2-4 LEC), Eastern (15-8, 3-3 LEC) instead lost for the fifth straight time against the Colonials.
With one LEC regular-season match remaining, Eastern shares third place with Plymouth State University and its final LEC opponent – University of Southern Maine. A win Saturday at USM guarantees the Warriors no worse than a share of third place and a first-round home match.
After winning seven straight, the Warriors have been swept in LEC play by UMass Boston and Western in their last two outings. The win was only Western's third at home against seven losses. The Colonials had lost ten straight – winning only one set in the process – before now winning three of their last five. Half of Western's 16 roster players are freshmen.
The opening game was neck-and-neck most all of the way, but the hosts broke a 22-22 tie on three consecutive errors – one serving and two attacking.
It was all Colonials in the second set as they race to a 9-0 lead advantage and attacked at .435 in the set (two errors on 23 attempts). Rookie middle hitter Nyilah Horton capped the set with a floor as Western breezed to a ten-point second-set victory that set the stage for only its second sweep in six weeks.
Eastern trailed by only one, 22-21, in a see-saw third set, but Western got consecutive kills to move to within one of match point, then sewed it up with Eastern serving with a kill by King.
Eastern attacked at just .102, including .000 in the important second-set loss.
Freshman Alaetra Long (Lincoln, NE) paced Eastern with seven kills, while classmate Abby Stern (Manchester) and senior Carly Balskus (Hebron) finished with six apiece. The trio attacked at a miserable .014, however, commiting 18 attack errors against 19 kills. Sophomore Mckenzie Maneggia (Andover) topped the Warriors with 13 assists, and senior libero Michelle Valliere (Lebanon) collected 17 digs, exceeding the 900-career dig plateau in the match.