Eastern edges USM in conference debut, also dumps MMA
At left: Nicki Gasch
GORHAM, Maine -- Senior outside hitter Nicki Gasch (New Fairfield) had 21 kills and attacked at .234 and junior setter Jess Patrizi (Beacon Falls) contributed eight service aces and 37 assists as the Eastern Connecticut State University women's volleyball team won twice Saturday afternoon at the Warren Hill Gymnasium on the University of Southern Maine campus.
Eastern (6-7, 1-0 LEC) pounded host University of Southern Maine twice in the best-of-five but need five sets to subdue the Huskies (10-3, 0-1 LEC), 25-6, 18-25, 25-9, 22-25, 15-12 in the Little East Conference opener for both teams, then vanquished Maine Maritime Academy (6-5) in four sets, 19-25, 25-22, 25-9, 25-16 in a non-conference match.
In defeating Southern Maine for the 14th time in this 15-match series, Eastern struggled after attacking at .375 in the easy first-set victory. Against Maine Maritime, the Warriors improved noticeably after attacking at -.059 in the first-set loss. Eastern attacked at .179 in pulling out a three-point victory to even the match at 1-set all, then attacked at .273 in the third set and a blistering .387 in closing out the victory in the first meeting ever between the programs.
Among the team's top offensive players, only Gasch attacked at better than .200. Freshman outside hitter Adrianna Mihalek (Woodbury) led all Eastern players with 22 kills and also contributed 24 digs and four service aces. Freshman middle blocker Kay Mullen (Fairhaven, MA) added 15 kills and sophomore right side Bry Kelly (Dunbarton, NH) ten kills, seven blocks and five service aces.
Senior libero Erynn Miller (Stratford), the two-time LEC Defensive Player-of-the-Week, had 44 digs and junior setter Allie Henry (Middletown) 26 assists, four service aces and 15 digs.
Patrizi's eight service aces sparked Eastern, with eight players contributing at least one to the Warriors' total of 33 on the day. Sophomore back row player Allie Luppi (Tewksbury, MA) followed Patrizi with seven.
Eastern hosts Keene State College and Eastern Nazarene College Saturday beginning at noon at Geissler Gymnasium.