Volleyball’s season ends in NCAA East Region Semifinals

Volleyball’s season ends in NCAA East Region Semifinals

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. – The fourth-seeded Saint Anselm College volleyball team saw its historic season come to an end on Saturday, just a day after posting the program's first win in the NCAA Division II East Region tournament, as the Hawks dropped a heartbreaker to top-seeded Molloy College 3-2.

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It was a career night for junior Elise Jolly (Merrimack, N.H.), who led the way for the Hawks with 21 kills, a new personal best for the outside hitter.

Senior Catie McCarthy (Warrenton, Va.), the school's all-time leader in kills, tacked on an additional 13, pushing her career tally to 1,164. McCarthy moved into a tie for the school's all-time for kills in a season (385), tied with Marissa Caron '04, who accomplished the feat in the 2003 season.

Freshman Michelle Henwood (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) tallied 45 assists on the evening, giving her 1,072 helpers for her first season on the Hilltop, fourth-most in a single season for the Hawks.

Fellow first year Caroline Belmontez (San Diego, Cali.), who entered the evening needing just one dig to reach the 500 mark, notched a career-high 33 digs on the evening for Saint Anselm. Belmontez concludes the year, third in the single-season digs list with 532.

A back-and-forth battle in the opening set, Molloy used a 10-2 run to build a 15-6 lead. The Hawks battled back, closing the gap to 15-11, but the Lions were able to use another extended run to put the first set out of reach, taking the 25-15 victory.

The second frame saw 14 ties and five lead changes. Tied at 21-21, a Lois Dogbe (Winchester, Calif.) ace and a Holly Manchester (Lodi, Wis.) and Jolly block put the Hawks in front 23-21. Jolly and McCarthy closed out the set with respective kills, evening the match at 1-1.

In the third, Molloy jumped out to the 9-3 lead and never looked back, letting the Hawks get no closer than two, 17-15, midway through the set before pulling away for the 25-20 win and 2-1 lead.

In the fourth, Saint Anselm pushed out to a 7-4 lead, forcing a Molloy timeout. The Lions stayed within three until midway through the set when Jolly and company took control, forcing a decisive fifth set with a 25-15 victory.

In the fifth, the Lions were able to build a 5-2 lead out of the gate and the Hawks could never recover. Saint Anselm pulled to within one, 7-6, but Molloy broke the rally and built back a five-point edge, 11-6.

The Hawks would not go away, battling back to within two, 13-10, but the lead proved too much to overcome as Molloy would sneak away with the 15-12 win, advancing them to the East Region Championship match against Bridgeport on Saturday.

The Hawks season comes to a close with a final record of 21-11. Saint Anselm has made three straight NCAA Tournament appearances, the first three in program history. Friday's quarterfinal win over the University of New Haven marked the first NCAA tournament victory for the program.

Saint Anselm loses McCarthy and Madison Sollows (Barnstable, Mass.) due to graduation. Sollows caps her career as the school's leader in attack percentage (.325) and is third all-time in block assists (228).