WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- In a battle of last year's Little East Conference co-champions ranked 1-2 in the 2019 coaches' pre-season poll, Eastern Connecticut State University survived two straight two-set losses to emerge with 25-21, 25-14, 23-25, 24-26, 15-10 victories over the University of Massachusetts Boston Friday night at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.
In defeating UMass Boston (4-9, 1-1 LEC) in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2006-2007, Eastern scored the first seven points of the fifth set behind the serving of senior setter Mckenzie Maneggia (Andover) and led 9-1 before the Beacons used a 7-1 run to cut the gap to 10-8. With UMB serving, Maneggia
regained the momentum for Eastern with a dump off junior Abby Stern's (Manchester) reception, and after a UMB attack error gave Eastern another point, Stern made it 13-8 off a pass from senior setter Sierra Orr (Woodland, WA). Senior middle Lydia Niderno's (Willington) sideline kill soon after ended the match.
When Maneggia served the first seven points of the fifth set, the Beacons committed three attack errors to open the set before Maneggia served an ace, junior outside Alaetra Long (Lincoln, NE) had a kill and sophomore middle Anna Barry (Andover) closed the run with two kills on Maneggia sets.
The match featured 26 ties and 13 lead chances.
Eastern looked to close out the match in three but the Beacons survived in a third set which featured ten ties and three lead changes. Behind kills from Barry , a UMB attack error and a kill by Stern, Eastern appeared to gain control of that third set with a 14-10 lead before the Beacons reeled off six straight to take the lead for good, 16-14.
The Beacons forced the decisive fifth set with a second straight two-point win in the fourth. The visitors led early and by four, 19-14 but the Warriors surged back with eight straight points to move ahead, 22-19 on three kills by Barry, two from Long, Maneggia's service ace and two UMB attack errors.
The Warriors had match point with a 24-22 lead but a kill by sophomore Marcelle Tiscareno on Eastern's serve kept the Beacons alive and block assists from senior Sarah Doyle and Mallory Reed tied it at 24-all. Junior libero Tyla Parker's service ace soon after end the set and forced a fifth.
Barry led all players with 17 kills and a .353 attack percentage, with Stern and Long each recording 11 and Niderno ten kills and three blocks. Sophomore libero Madison Bell (Salem) added a game-high 29 digs and Long had 16 digs and four blocks. Maneggia had 28 assists, Orr 14.
Tiscareno led UMB with 13 kills but the Beacons attacked at only .068 and committed ten service errors. Junior setter Carsen Komminsk (Worthington, OH) collected 38 of her team's 42 assists and Doyle was credited with seven blocks and Tiscareno and Reed four each.
Eastern hosts Rhode Island College Wednesday at 7 p.m. in a conference match.