They drop final two sets by nine points, lose fifth to a ranked team
NEW LONDON, Conn. - Playing its sixth regionally-ranked team this year, the Eastern Connecticut State University women's volleyball team was swept by Salve Regina University Tuesday night at the Rodgers Recreation Center. Set scores were 25-13, 25-22, 25-19.
At left: Kay Mullen
Having lost five straight decisions against teams ranked in New England since opening the season by defeating regionally-ranked U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Eastern (4-7) led only once in the match after scoring the first two points of the final set. In addition to the five losses to New England's top teams, another came at the hands of undefeated (12-0) Stevens Tech at the Coast Guard Invitational.
In a re-match of last year's ECAC first-round contest (won in five by Salve), 12th-ranked Salve (10-1) scored nine of the final 12 points of the first set to pull away from a four-point lead; in the second set, the Warriors used a late run to close an eight-point deficit to one, 23-22, on an ace by sophomore Melissa Godere (Norwich), but the Seahawks closed it out by the final two points on an Eastern serving error and a kill by Emily Lipinski.
The hosts finished off the sweep in the third set by responding with seven straight points after an Seahawk attack error and a service ace by freshman Amanda Tyler (Longmeadow, MA) had spotted the Warriors a 2-0 lead. Leading by four, Salve used a kill, service ace and Eastern attack error to push the advantage to 22-15 on the way to the six-point win.
Freshman middle hitter Kay Mullen (Fairhaven, MA) led Eastern with eight kills and a .263 attack percentage to go along with three blocks; junior setter Allie Henry (Middletown) contributed 12 assists and senior libero Erynn Miller (Stratford) - ranked 15th nationally in digs with a 5.90 average - led all players on both teams in that department with 14. Mullen leads Eastern this year with a .250 attack percentage and is the runaway leader with 20 blocks.
Jennifer Duggan, a 5-foot-7 inch senior, had 11 kills and a .346 attack percentage for the Seahawks, who attacked at .300 as a team.
Eastern opens Little East Conference play Saturday, visiting the University of Southern Maine at noon. The Warriors follow with a non-conference match against Maine Maritime Academy at 2 p.m. at USM.
Salve Regina U. 3, Eastern Conn. 0
Eastern Conn. (4-7) 13 22 19
Salve Regina (10-1) 25 25 25