WEST HAVEN, Conn. – The eighth-seeded Saint Anselm College women's volleyball team fell to the top-seeded University of New Haven, 3-2, in the 2018 NCAA Division II East Region Championship Quarterfinals at Charger Gymnasium.
It was the second-straight season that Saint Anselm reached the NCAA Tournament. The Hawks made their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament one season ago, falling to Molloy in five sets in West Haven. Saint Anselm finished the year with single-season records in kills per set (12.96) while ranking second in kills (1,478) and attacking percentage (.237). The squad's 1,384 assists are also the second-most while the 1,805 digs compiled as a team is the sixth-most.
The set scores, in favor of the Chargers (26-5), were 30-32, 25-19, 22-25, 25-19, and 15-13. New Haven, which has made the NCAA Tournament 33 times, including 13-straight appearances, advance to the semifinals and will face the winner of the Thursday evening's match between No. 4 Molloy and No. 5 Holy Family on Friday, Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m.
The Hawks end their season with a 17-13 overall record after recording a 7-7 mark against Northeast-10 Conference opponents during the regular season. Junior Catie McCarthy (Broad Run, Va.) led the team with a career-high 24 kills along with 23 digs. She finishes an outstanding junior campaign with 366 kills, the fourth-most by any Hawks student-athlete in one season. Senior Sarah Lowery (Chicago, Ill.) had 17 kills and 16 digs. Classmate Jewel Hays (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) finished with 56 assists in the match and sees her strong career come to a close with a program-record 3,750 assists across 398 sets played.
Junior Madison Sollows (West Barnstable, Mass.) registered the second-best single-season attacking percentage with a .362 mark via 226 kills and only 44 errors in 503 total swings. Hays' final season total of 1,080 is the third-most in one year for a Hawks student-athlete and her single-season mark of 10.38 assists per set is the second-best average in team history.
After the first set was tied three times early on, the Chargers went on to take a 7-4 lead. The Hawks managed to tie the set on multiple occasions, New Haven pulled away for a for a 14-12 lead. However, six straight points for the Hawks gave them a 17-14 lead forcing a timeout by the Chargers. It looked as though Saint Anselm would take the set, building two more three point leads. However, New Haven battled back to tie things at 25. From there, set point was reached six times before Saint Anselm wrapped up its longest set of the season on a kill by Lowery.
The Chargers opened the second set with a 4-1 lead and never trailed for the remainder of the set. The Hawks crawled back on several occasions, bringing the score within a point at 11-10 in favor of New Haven. The Chargers built an 18-12 lead to force a Saint Anselm timeout. The six-point margin was the closest the Hawks got until New Haven led by a 24-19 score. However, the Chargers closed out the set with a kill by Kristine Rios.
The third set was a completely different start for the Hawks, pulling ahead for three-straight points. They led 8-4 thanks to a couple of Charger attack errors. However, New Haven battled back to tie the set eight, before taking a 10-8 lead. Saint Anselm was able to trim the lead to 15-14, tying it at 15, before an ace by Lowery gave them a 16-15 lead, forcing a timeout by New Haven. Following the break in action, a pair of kills by McCarthy built an 18-15 lead. The Chargers evened the score at 18 and again at 19, before regaining a 21-19 edge. The Hawks were able to tie things at 21 and took a 22-21 lead on a kill by McCarthy. The visitors were able to close the on a kill by Lowery.
The fourth set was tied three times to start, before the Hawks took an 8-6 lead. New Haven evened the score at eight before taking a 9-8 lead. Saint Anselm rallied back to take a 14-12 lead on a Lowery kill. After the Chargers took a 16-14 lead, Saint Anselm was able to tie things at 17 all. However, New Haven went on to take the set, 25-19.
The fifth set started well for Saint Anselm with the Hawks leading 7-6. However, the Chargers tied it at seven and then at eight before taking a 12-8 lead. The Hawks trimmed the lead to 13-11 and held off match point twice, bringing the score to 14-13 in favor of New Haven. However, the Chargers won the match on a service ace.