First-year head coach Pete Maneggia gains first victories at Eastern
NORTON, Mass. - Being swept by Roger Williams University Thursday in the 2011 season opener was disappointing for first-year head coach Pete Maneggia and the Eastern Connecticut State University women's volleyball team.
At left: Pete Maneggia
Saturday, a sweep of three opponents at the Wheaton College Invitational at the Haas Athletic Center was exhilarating for the rookie coach and the Warriors.
In the toughest test of the afternoon, Eastern emerged with a five-game win over Emerson College in the second of its two matches. The Warriors won by scores of 19-25, 25-18, 25-18, 22-25 and 15-6. Eastern opened the day with a four-game win over Western New England University (25-14, 25-21, 18-25, 30-28) and closed action with a tight sweep (25-23, 25-20, 25-23) of host Wheaton College.
While several teammates struggled against Emerson, seniors Kristianna Ibsen (Shelton) and Samantha Slonski (Griswold) and junior Katie Wilson (Pittsburg, CA) combined for 36 of the team's 42 kills and a .400 attack percentage. Wilson also had four service aces and combined with Slonski and senior Taylor Abelli (Cheshire) for 53 digs. Abelli's 22 digs led all players.
Wilson and Ibsen represented Eastern on the five-person all-tournament team, with the Warriors the only team with more than one selection.
In the opening four-game victory over Western New England, Slonski and Wilson combined for 22 kills and Wilson, Abelli and junior Danielle Bourne (Branford) amassed 48 digs.
Against Wheaton, Ibsen and Wilson combined for 24 kills and Abelli, freshman Allie Henry (Middletown) and Slonski for 31 digs.
In three wins, Ibsen and Wilson were decidedly the team's best attacking players. Ibsen had 28 kills and a .355 attack percentage and Wilson 36 kills and a .255 attack percentage. Slonski had 31 kills. Bourne commited only two errors on 52 serves (96.2 percent) and Wilson, Henry and Slonski combined for 18 service aces. Wilson was also successful on 95.5 percent of her 44 reception attempts while Abelli led all players with 53 digs, Wilson adding 34 and Slonski and Bourne 31 each. Slonski and Henry shared setting duties in the tournament, Slonski collected 51 assists and Henry 36.
Eastern visits Clark University Tuesday at 7 p.m.