NEW HAVEN, Conn. – For the second straight season, the Saint Anselm College women's volleyball team advanced to the Northeast-10 Conference Championship Semifinals, as the eighth-seeded Hawks defeated the top-seeded Chargers of the University of New Haven in straight sets in the quarterfinal round on Tuesday night.
Saint Anselm improves to 17-11 on the season while the Chargers, who were the top team in the latest NCAA Division II East Region rankings, fall to 25-5. The Hawks had never defeated New Haven in straight sets prior to Tuesday night's result.
Sophomore Elise Jolly (Merrimack, N.H.) led the Hawks with 12 kills while junior Catie McCarthy (Broad Run, Va.) had 12 digs and 11 kills. Classmate Madison Sollows (West Barnstable, Mass.) and senior Sarah Lowery (Chicago, Ill.) each notched seven kills. Lowery also had 10 digs on the evening and three blocks. Senior Jewel Hays (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) had 36 assists and 10 digs. Sophomore Holly Manchester (Lodi, Wis.) finished the evening with six kills on nine swings for a .556 attack percentage and also had three blocks.
The Hawks built a quick 5-0 lead to start the opening set with a couple kills and errors by the Chargers. New Haven brought the set within two points at 7-5 and then 8-6, before tying everything up at eight. Saint Anselm regained the lead on a kill and an attack error. However, the Chargers tied the set at 12 before taking their first lead of at 14-12. The set was tied again at 20 and 21 before the Hawks took a 23-21 lead. Saint Anselm was able to close out the set with three straight kills.
The second set was a battle by both teams as neither team built more than a three-point lead in the early goings. The set was tied nine times before Saint Anselm built a 17-13 lead. The Chargers battled back to tie things at 17 and then took a 20-18 lead. The visitors battled back and went ahead by three on a five-point swing. However, with set point on the line New Haven tied everything up at 24 before the Hawks used back-to-back kills to take a 2-0 match lead.
The momentum was in Saint Anselm's favor heading into the third set. The road team jumped out to a 6-0 lead and never looked back. New Haven battled back to come within three points with the Hawks leading 15-12. However, all of the pressure was on the home team and the Hawks took advantage to score 10 of the final 13 points of the set to seal the victory.
Saint Anselm will face the fourth-seeded Owls of Southern Connecticut State University on Friday, Nov. 9. The Owls breezed past the Penmen in straight sets on Tuesday to earn placement in the conference semifinals.