BRISTOL, R.I. – In an important second set which featured 11 ties, the Roger Williams University women's volleyball broke a final deadlock on Eastern Connecticut State University attack error and reception error en route to a two-point win and an eventual sweep of their non-conference match Tuesday evening.
Playing its fourth match in five days, Eastern (3-1) fell to Roger Williams (4-1) for the fifth straight year – winning only two sets in those losses. The Hawks won by 25-20, 26-24, 25-18.
Eastern led by as many as three points midway through the second set but never led again after the Hawks tied the match, 14-14 on a kill by freshman Katherine Pickard, RWU's six-foot conference Rookie-of-the-Week last week. Sophomore outside Abby Stern (Manchester) – Eastern's 2017 Little East Conference Rookie-of-the-Year last, pulled Eastern even for the final time, 24-all, on a kill off a set by senior Leah Sopneski (Deep River). The Hawks followed by breaking Stern's serve on an Eastern attack error, then won the set on freshman Kate Grabowski's service ace.
The Warriors led early in the match but behind the serving of Nicki Fallisi, RWU reeled off six straight points on four kills and two Eastern attack errors to surge to a four-point, 12-8 lead. Eastern cut the gap to one twice thereafter but could get no closer.
Neither team attacked effectively in the final set – Eastern at .162 and RWU at .195 – but the Hawks led from wire-to-wire behind Pickard's six kills and .333 attack percentage. Stern and freshman middle Anna Barry (Andover) led the Warriors in the third set by combining on nine kills and a .381 attack percentage.
Pickard led the hosts with 15 kills and a .333 attack percentage, with 6-2 senior middle Jill McManaman adding eight kills and a .500 attack percentage.
Stern had 18 kills and attacked at .385 and Barry chipped in seven kills with a .250 attack percentage and two blocks.. Stern also had a .960 reception percentage and 11 digs. Junior setter Mckenzie Maneggia (Andover) had 18 assists and a team-high 14 digs and sophomore outside Alaetra Long (Lincoln, NE) ten digs and nine kills. Sopneski followed Maneggia with 13 assists.
Eastern competes in the Trinity College Invitational this weekend, facing Trinity Friday at 7 p.m. and Clark University (10 a.m.) and Westfield State University (2 p.m.) Saturday.