WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – The Eastern Connecticut State University women's volleyball team led from start to finish in the first two sets, then overcame a four-point deficit in the third on the way to a 25-22, 25-19, 25-18 Little East Conference victory over Western Connecticut State University Tuesday night at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasiu
Eastern (9-4, 2-1 LEC) stopped a five-game losing streak at the hands of Western (8-7, 2-1 LEC) with its fifth straight victory this year. The Warriors were playing their first home match since sweeping Mitchell College and Nichols College Sept. 1 in non-conference play.
The Warriors scored the first four points of the first set and carried that lead into the latter stages of that set. Eastern never let Western get untracked in the second set, getting early kills from senior Jackie Orlowski (Woodstock) and sophomore Alaetra Long (Lincoln, NE) for a four-point lead that never shrunk lower than three the rest of the way.
Western moved out to a 12-8 lead in the third set, prompting an Eastern timeout. Out of the break, Eastern outscored Western, 10-2, to take an 18-14 advantage into the late stages. The Colonials had five successive attack errors that allowed Eastern to pull ahead, with six-foot Anna Barry (Andover) teaming with Orlowski for blocks that forced two of the errors. Barry's kill off an assist from senior Leah Sopneski (Deep River) pushed the Eastern lead to 18-14 and Western never got closer than three the rest of the way.
Barry led all Eastern players with 11 kills and attacked at .444, with Orlowski adding eight kills and a .471 attack percentage for the Warriors, who attacked at .252 as compared to just .136 for Western. Long and sophomore Abby Stern (Manchester) each had eight kills, Stern (14) and Long (12) combining for 26 digs and splitting four service aces. Junior Mckenzie Maneggia (Andover) set for 25 assists, Sopneski totaling 16.
Western senior Kamari King, who joined Stern as a first-team All-LEC pick last year, topped Western with 12 kills – twice as many as her nearest teammate. Senior libero Jenna Pisano (Orange) had a team-high nine digs for Western, sophomore Victoria Korzan eight, and King seven. Sophomores Nicolina Chenard and Skylar Kellam each had 14 assists.
Eastern plays Western New England University and Westfield State University in non-conference action Saturday at Springfield, MA.