MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Saint Anselm College volleyball team clinched its first Northeast-10 Conference postseason berth since 2004 despite a five-set (25-20, 25-15, 23-25, 14-25, 15-10) loss to Stonehill on Tuesday evening at Stoutenburgh Gymnasium.
Saint Anselm (19-6, 9-3 NE-10) fought back from dropping the first two sets to send the match the distance but Stonehill (11-13, 7-6 NE-10) recovered to take the fifth set. The five-setter was the Hawks' seventh of the season, all coming in the last month.
Catherine McCarthy led the Saint Anselm offense with 14 kills and also added eight digs and two block assists. Sarah Lowery had nine kills, seven digs and three aces, while Jewel Hays recorded 41 assists, seven digs, three kills and two aces. CC Chrisom made 27 digs and her season total of 442 now ranks sixth in program history.
Katherine DeLanty had a match-high 15 kills while hitting .394 and also was in on 12 total blocks for the Skyhawks. Allyson Hughes added 13 kills and hit .375, while Marykay Nasby pitched in 10 kills and four block assists. Rachel Dunlavy led three in double-digit digs for Stonehill with 22.
In the decisive fifth set, McCarthy registered kills on the first two points to give the Hawks an early advantage. However, the Skyhawks went on a 6-1 run to take a 6-3 lead they would not relinquish. The visitors saw their lead trimmed to 6-5 but used a quick 3-0 to to go back up four and led by at least three the rest of the way.
Saint Anselm rattled off the first five points of the match and led 16-10 before Stonehill embarked on a 10-1 surge to lead 20-17. Out of a timeout, McCarthy tallied a kill to cut the deficit to two but the Skyhawks closed out the first set 25-20 by winning five of the final seven points.
The Skyhawks broke a 9-9 deadlock in set two with a run of nine-straight points. After trailing 20-10, the Hawks climbed to within six, 21-15, after an ace by Amy Stankiewicz and a Katy Teets kill but it was not enough as the visitors took the second 25-16 to go up two sets.
Saint Anselm started its rally early in the third, flying out to a 12-4 lead only for Stonehill to claw its way back to within three, 13-10. The Skyhawks eventually took their first lead of the set at 18-17 but a 4-1 run shortly thereafter but the Hawks up 21-19. The visitors evened the set at 21-21 but late kills from Amanda Bickford, McCarthy and Hays gave the Hawks the third, 25-23, despite being outhit .344-.179.
Saint Anselm carried the momentum into set four by taking early leads of 5-1 and 7-2. Stonehill hung around with a 5-2 spurt to get within two, 9-7, but the Hawks answered with a 7-2 run to extend their lead to 16-9 and would lead by no fewer than six the rest of the set to take it 25-14.
The Hawks look to rebound on Friday, Nov. 11 with a home match against Saint Rose at 7 p.m. before closing out the regular season against Le Moyne the following day at noon.