WATERBURY, Conn. – The Saint Anselm College volleyball team split a pair of three-set matches to open its showing at the Post University Invitational, downing the host Eagles and falling to Bridgeport on Saturday at the Drubner Center.
The Hawks move to 1-5 on the year, falling to Bridgeport via scores of 25-11, 25-23 and 25-21 before taking down Post, 25-12, 25-23, 25-11. Saint Anselm concludes the two-day invitational on Sunday with matches against Felician (1:30 p.m.) and Bloomsburg (5:30 p.m.).
Senior Catie McCarthy (Warrenton, Va.) hammered a total of 24 kills on the day with a season-high 14 on 39 swings against Bridgeport. Sophomore Nique D'Ancona (Corte Madera, Calif.) was also in double figures in kills, finishing with 10 on 12 attempts and five digs. Freshman Caroline Belmontez (San Diego, Calif.) had a team-high 12 digs in the opening match of the tournament with classmate Michelle Henwood (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) seting up a career-high 32 of the 41 team's kills against Bridgeport. The Hawks recorded their highest hitting percentage all year with a .326 mark in the Post matchup.
Playing to a 6-6 score, the Purple Knights seized control with a 5-2 run to go ahead by an 11-8 score. Later, the Hawks powered an 8-4 run that provided a 16-15 lead as junior duos Jordan Schamp (Plymouth, Mich.) and Elise Jolly (Merrimack, N.H.) each had a pair of kills in the run. The Purple Knights secured the lead back with two straight kills by Amanda Keller. At that point, Bridgeport kept Saint Anselm at bay as the two teams traded points the rest of the way.
The second set was in favor of Bridgeport early with a 7-5 advantage before the Hawks built a 6-1 stretch to earn an 11-8 advantage. That run ended with two Jolly kills. Both squads traded four point rallies with the set still in the Hawks' control, leading 15-12. Bridgeport hammered a pair of kills as part of a 6-3 spurt to take the set lead at 19-18. Later, the Hawks and Purple Knights were deadlocked at 23-23 with two points by either side needed to win. Bridgeport regrouped and won the last two points to earn the 25-23 second set win.
Saint Anselm raced out to a 15-7 lead in the third. Trailing by eight, the Purple Knights mounted a 7-2 run to cut the Hawks lead down to three which was helped by three Keller kills. After being down early, Bridgeport closed the gap to 20-20 with a 6-3 run. After that point, the Purple Knights rebuilt a four-point advantage by winning the next four points and holding onto the victory.
Against Post, the Hawks took an early 7-5 lead that grew to a a 10-8 advantage. The Hawks held onto the momentum, storming to a 15-4 run which included McCarthy recording three kills in the span to secure the 25-12 win.
Post built an early 14-4 lead in set two behind four early kills from Mikayla McLeod. The Hawks got within 18-14 out of a timeout but Post kept the Hawks at arm's length, leading 23-17. Saint Anselm stunned the hosts with eight consecutive points, earning the 25-23 win in the second stanza.
The Hawks led 8-6 in the third set before rattling off 10 straight points to capture an 18-6 lead. Saint Anselm finished the day with nine kills from D'Ancona in the final 14 points.
Photo Courtesy of Jeff Romance