Balanced attack leads Ravens past volleyball

RINDGE, N.H. – The Saint Anselm College volleyball team was swept by host Franklin Pierce University in three close sets, 25-22, 25-23, 25-21 in a Northeast-10 Conference match on Tuesday evening at FPU Fieldhouse.

Box Score

Five Ravens had between six and 10 kills in the match as Franklin Pierce (7-15, 5-6 NE10) picked up its eighth-straight home victory in the series with Saint Anselm (14-10, 7-5 NE10). The Hawks' last win in Rindge was a four-set triumph on Sept. 14, 2004 and the Ravens have dropped just one set in the eight consecutive victories.

With two matches remaining in its regular season schedule, Saint Anselm currently occupies the sixth spot in the NE10 standings. The Hawks are just ahead of Southern Connecticut State and Pace, who have identical 6-5 marks in the NE10, with Franklin Pierce on the outside looking in at 5-6 in ninth place. The top-eight teams qualify for the NE10 Championship.

Katy Teets was the lone player to reach double figures in kills for Saint Anselm, finishing with 11 to go with eight digs. The 11 kills bring the senior's career total to 978, as she is 22 kills shy of becoming just the third player in program history to reach the 1,000-kill milestone. Catherine McCarthy added eight kills and a pair of block assists, while Holly Manchester hit .615 with eight kills on 13 errorless swings.

Jewel Hays tallied 38 assists and seven digs, with Danielle Isbell contributing a team-high 14 digs. Freshman Nia Bridges had a career-high 13 digs for the Hawks defensively.

Hannah St. Jean posted 10 kills while hitting .292 to lead Franklin Pierce's balanced attack. Danielle Varricchio hit .412 on her way to eight kills and 13 digs, Abigail Garnhart and Britney Carias each had seven kills and Hannah Runge handed out 38 assists. The Ravens limited Saint Anselm to a .160 attack percentage thanks in part to 14 digs from Jocelyn Moody and 13 from Varricchio.

After an attack error gave the Hawks the first point of the match, Franklin Pierce held the lead until a string of three-straight points put Saint Anselm up 17-16, prompting the Ravens to call timeout. Following the stoppage, Saint Anselm increased its lead to 21-17, but won just one point the rest of the way as the Ravens closed the set strong to snatch the opener, 25-22.

Saint Anselm ran out to a 5-1 lead in the early stages of the second set after a rare Isbell kill. Midway through the set, Franklin Pierce took the lead with a 6-2 run that put the hosts up, 17-15. The Ravens built a four-point lead at 23-19 late on, but the Hawks closed the gap to one after a Teets kill and two from Amanda Bickford. Franklin Pierce, however, recovered with kills from St. Jean and Carias on either side of another from Bickford to close out the second.

A 5-0 run on Carias' serve got Franklin Pierce off to a 6-1 start in the third. Franklin Pierce led by five on three occasions before Saint Anselm closed the gap to one at 19-18. The Ravens rebuilt a four-point advantage by winning the next three points and traded points with the Hawks the rest of the way to seal the three-set win.

Saint Anselm travels to Assumption for a noon start on Saturday, Nov. 4. The Hawks edged the Greyhounds in five sets at home on the second weekend of their season on Friday, Sept. 8.