Mount Holyoke Sweeps Tri-Match Action on Saturday

Photo of Lyons volleyball player Jamesa Allen

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. - Junior middle hitter Jamesa Allen posted a career-and-game high 21 kills to lead Mount Holyoke College to a 3-0 victory over Baruch College in the first game of a tri-match on Saturday at the Mildred S. Howard Gymnasium. In the Lyons second match of the day, Mount Holyoke bested Westfield State 3-1. With the wins, the Lyons move to 10-10 overall, which is the highest win total since 2013. The Bearcats are now 10-15 on the season, while the Owls fall to 11-12.

In addition to Allen, who posted a .486 hitting percentage with just three errors and a block assist. Sophomore middle hitter Sasha Simine (Kitchener, Ont./Cameron Heights Collegiate Inst.) added seven kills for a .583 hitting percentage, also adding two service aces, two block solos and two block assists. Junior right side Sarah Caggiano (Leonardtown, Md./Leonardtown) notched eight kills and a game-best 12 digs with three block assists, while first year setter Brayden Walden (McKinney, Texas/McKinney North) recorded a game-high 37 assists.

For Baruch, first year outside hitter Stella Chung (Staten Island, N.Y./S.I. Tech) posted five kills and five digs, while junior outside hitter Leslie Chen (Staten Island, N.Y./S.I. Tech) and sophomore middle blocker Yijia Cai (Shanghai, China/Dajinj) each had three kills. First year libero Danielle Naggar (Flushing, N.Y./Bayside) had a game-best nine digs, while first year setter Katherine Chen (Queens, N.Y./Cardozo) had 13 assists.

After a tight battle, Mount Holyoke opened a three-point advantage (11-8) following kills from Simine and Caggiano and a service ace from Walden. Baruch battled back later, pulling it to 20-12 on an attack error from the Bearcats, but three straight points from the Lyons, including two kills from Allen closed out the set win for the home team by a 25-14 margin.

The second set saw Baruch tie it up early (3-3) on a kill from Chung, but strikes from Allen and junior outside hitter Joy Maran (Santa Fe, N.M./Santa Fe Prep) moved the Lyons into the lead, which they would not relinquish. Points in five of the last six plays of the frame, which again saw Allen record four kills, helped the Lyons to a 25-10 set win.

In the third stanza, Baruch opened with a quick 2-1 advantage behind a pair of Lyons service errors, but MHC bounced back with a 5-0 run to take a 6-2 lead. A kill from Chung helped edge the Bearcats back into the match (9-6) and back-and-forth points kept things close until a 7-1 run by the homestanding Lyons pushed Mount Holyoke to the 25-15.

The middle match of the day saw the Owls of Westfield State battle back for a 3-1 victory over Baruch. Three players led the Owls in kills, paced by first year defensive specialist Lynn Shattuck (Townsend, Mass./North Middlesex), who had a game-high 14 kills while adding six digs. Junior outside hitter Karolyn Higgins (Billerica, Mass./Billerica) added 13 kills, while first year outside hitter Ainsley MacLeod (Hampden, Mass./Minnechaug) posted 11 kills and seven digs. Junior defensive specialist Lizzie Taylor (Medfield, Mass./Medfield) recorded three service aces and a game-high 29 digs, while senior setter Brigid Murray (Norfolk, Mass./King Phillip Regional) notched a game-best 29 assists.For Baruch, Chung and Cai each recorded 10 kills, with Chung adding 11 digs and a match-high four service aces. Chen posted six kills, a match-best four service aces, 16 assists and 14 digs, while Chang added 24 digs.

It was tight to open the first set as the team's kept it within two-points for nearly the entire second half of the frame. Westfield State owned a 16-7 advantage before Baruch began to battle back, taking five straight points, which included three consecutive service aces from Chung to make it 16-11. The Bearcats took advantage of multiple Owls' errors to tie the match at 17-all, but the Owls bounced back behind errors from Baruch to jump ahead by a 21-19 margin. A kill from Higgins pushed Westfield State ahead 24-23 and an ace from sophomore outside hitter Natasha Belardo (Springfield, Mass./Holyoke) gave the Owls the 25-23 win.

Baruch rebounded in the second frame, opening up a 14-9 lead behind a kill from junior outsdie hitter Leslie Chen (Staten Island, N.Y./S.I. Tech). The Owls took advantage of a late error from Baruch and a kill from McLeod, but the Bearcats earned the set victory following back-to-back errors from Westfield State for the 25-21 win.

The third set saw Baruch open up a 6-4 lead, but Westfield State rebounded, going up 10-8 on a kill from Murray. The Bearcats tied it up 12-all behind a kill from Leslie Chen, but the Owls would regain the lead and hold it for the remainder of the frame as a pair of kills from McLeod and another from Higgins gave Westfield State the 25-19 victory.

Westfield State gained quick control in the deciding set, owning a 17-10 advantage behind a kill from Belardo. Multiple errors by the Bearcats saw the Owls 7-0 run on their way to the 25-12 set victory.

In the final match of the day, the the Lyons got double-digit kills from three different players, including a game-high 15 from Simine to defeat Westfield State, 3-1. Leading the match in digs was junior libero Cameron Graham (Sarasota, Fla./The out of Door Academy) with 25.

For the Owls, both junior Alyssa Ouellette (Deerfield/Frontier) and first year Ainsley MacLeod each led the team with seven kills each. Murray was the leader in assists with 20.

In the first set, the Owls jumped out to a 6-5 lead after an attack error by MHC, but a kill from Caggiano ignited an 11-1 run to go up 16-7. During the run, Allen recorded three consecutive kills and Simine had two service aces. Westfield went on a 6-0 run of their own, starting and ending with kills from Berlardo to cut the deficit to 16-13. The Lyons handled the run and went up by seven before the Owls capitalized on three straight errors to bring it to within three (22-19). Mount Holyoke scored three of the last five to win the set 25-21.

Westfield started out hot in the second set, going up 7-0 before a pair of Caggiano kills helped bring MHC back to an 8-all game. The Owls went back up by five after a McLeod kill, but MHC inched its way back to a 23-23 tie after two consecutive kills from Simine, but a kills from Ally Rega gave the Owls the set win.

After playing to a 1-1 tie heading into set three, the Owls used its momentum to go up 4-1 early in the Stanza. The Lyons came back to take momentum with eight straight points, including two kills from Simine to take a 15-8 lead. The Owls came within four, but three aces from Graham to end the set gave the Lyons a 25-16 win.

In the final set, Mount Holyoke got out to an 18-10 lead before an ace from Taylor stopped the run. The Lyons went on to score five consecutive points to go up 23-11. Westfield reached 14 points in the set before an error ended the match, 3-1 in favor of Mount Holyoke.

Both Mount Holyoke and Westfield will be in action at 7:00pm on Tuesday, facing Smith College and Bay Path College, respectively. Baruch will also be in action on Tuesday, battling Hunter College at 6:30pm.