Eastern can't maintain momentum in five-set setback to Cougars
Jess Patrizi (at left)
WORCESTER, Mass. - The Eastern Connecticut State University women's volleyball team could not maintain the momentum generated late in the third set and dropped a five-set decision to Clark University Tuesday night at the Kneller Center.
After the teams split the first two sets, Eastern (1-3) closed out the important third set by scoring the final eight points for a five-point victory, but fell behind for good early in losing the fourth set, and never led in the decisive fifth set.
In its home-opener, Clark (1-1) won by scores of 25-18, 16-25, 22-25, 25-20, 16-14.
Eastern, which will not play on its home court this season until September 28, tied the match by taking the second set against Clark behind the serving of junior setter Jess Patrizi (Beacons Falls). Patrizi served the first nine points of the set -- collecting four aces in that opening stretch - and the Warriors were never seriously threatened the rest of the way.
Patrizi served the first three points of the important third set but Eastern had to rally from a 22-17 deficit. Down by that five-point margin, the Warriors reeled off the final eight points in succession. Patrizi contributed her sixth and seventh service aces in that final run, freshman middle hitter Kay Mullen (Fairhaven, MA) a kill and block assist. Patrizi and freshman outside Ashley Adams (Mystic) combined for the final four points, Patrizi with two aces and Adams two kills.
Adams put the ball down in succession for the first two points of the fourth set, but the Cougars answered with the next five. Another kill by Adams provided Eastern with its final lead at 7-6, but the hosts later scored six of eight points to take command on the way to the five-point win.
Patrizi and senior libero Erynn Miller (Stratford) each had four digs and freshman outside hitter Adrianna Mihalek (Woodbury) three kills in the decisive fifth set. The Warriors trailed throughout but managed to tie the set twice in the late stages when Clark sent an attacked ball over the end line and Mullen collected a kill to pull Eastern even for the final time at 14-all. A successful attacked ball by Clark made it 15-14, and sophomore middle blocker Anne Read ended the two hour and six minute match with a kill.
Adams led Eastern with 17 kills, six coming in the opening set and eight in the fourth and fifth sets. Mullen added 15 kills and five blocks, Mihalek 13 kills and a team-high 23 digs, Miller 18 digs, sophomore Allie Luppi 14, junior setter Allie Henry (Middletown) 12 digs and 25 assists, and Patrizi ten digs,seven aces and 30 assists.
Eastern played again without senior outside hitter Nicki Gasch (New Fairfield), who is recovering from a concussion but is expected back within a week.
Eastern competes in the Springfield College Invitational this weekend, opening against Westfield State University Friday at 5 p.m.