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W-Volleyball: Warriors Challenge Owls

But they can't avoid a three-set Little East setback to visiting Keene


WILLIMANTIC, Conn. --  All-Little East Conference performers Bridget O'Bryant, Ellyse Davis and Kristen Girard combined for 27 kills to lift the Keene State College women's volleyball team to a sweep of Eastern Connecticut State University Saturday afternoon at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.  Game scores were 25-17, 25-15, 25-22.

At right: Samantha Slonski

Since being upset by Eastern in five sets in the semifinals of the 2007 Little East Conference tournament Keene State (8-4, 2-0 little east) has swept Eastern (7-5, 0-2 little east) the last four times the teams have met.

A first-team all-conference outside hitter as a junior last year, the 5-foot-10 inch O'Bryant led all players on both teams with 17 digs and shared team-high honors with Davis with 11 kills.

Keene rattled off eight straight points midway through the first set to set the tempo for the match and post its fifth straight win.The Owls trailed by one before moving out to a 21-14 advantage. A 10-4 run in the second set sent the Owls to a comfortable 17-8 lead. In the final set, Keene raced to a quick lead but Eastern chipped away, pulling as close as two points in the final stages before the visitors  gained the tight decision.

Senior setter Laurie Whalen collected 34 assists for Keene, which returned nine letterwinners from its first ECAC New England championship a year ago.  Whalen also chipped in three assists and first-year junior transfer Alex Lehocky totaled a game-high four.

Eastern has lost its last three - all at home against top competition. Senior Samantha Slonski (Griswold) enjoyed her finest offensive outing the year with 12 kills and a .556 attack percentage.  She also totaled a team-high nine digs and ten assists.  Junior Katie Wilson (Pittsburg, CA) followed with seven kills, four digs, six assists, and a block.  Seeting her first action of the year after recovering from a pre-season injury, senior Gianna Trombino (East Moriches, NY) came off the bench to give the Warriors a lift in the second set. She served nine balls with an ace and no errors and recorded eight digs.

As a team, the Warriors passed slightly better than their season average. Senior Taylor Abelli (Cheshire) handled 24 serves with a single error and Wilson was perfect on 15 tries.

Eastern visits Gordon College Tuesday at 7 p.m.


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