Volleyball Splits Tri-Match Action; Defeats Southern Maine, 3-1

Action photo of Lyons volleyball player, Sarah Caggiano

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. - The Mount Holyoke College volleyball team split tri-match action on Saturday afternoon, falling to Baruch College 3-1 (16-25, 25-19, 25-20, 30-28), before besting the University of Southern Maine, 3-1 (25-22, 20-25, 25-17, 25-21). The Lyons are now 7-11 on the season. The Bearcats moved to 7-15 following the day's action, while the Huskies are now 13-9 overall.

In the afternoon win against the Huskies, the Lyons opened with a first-set victory, but found themselves tied 1-all following a hard-fought effort by the visitors in the second frame.

The third set saw Southern Maine pull to within 9-8 on an MHC attacking error, but the Lyons rebounded as a three-point swing put them up 13-9, which included a pair of service aces from junior middle hitter Sasha Simine (Kitchener, Ont./Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute).

Sophomore right side Jamie Jannarone (Windham, Maine/Windham) later pulled the visitors back to within five (17-12), but kills down the stretch from senior captain Sarah Caggiano (Leonardtown, Md./Leonardtown), senior outside hitter Isabell Linde (Red Bank, N.J./Red Bank Catholic) and senior captain and middle hitter Jamesa Allen (Orlando, Fla./Lake Nona) helped close out the set win.

The fourth set was another close affair as the Huskies opened up a 13-10 advantage behind a service ace from sophomore defensive specialist Lauren Delissio (Hebron, Conn./RHAM). The Lyons were able to battle back, taking an advantage of a kill from rookie outside hitter Sarah Bishop (Rutland, Mass./Wachusett Regional) to tie the match at 16-all.

A kill from Allen later gave the Lyons a one-point edge (20-19) and 3-1 run over the final stretch sealed the MHC victory.

The Lyons were led by a season-best 12 kills from Bishop, which included 11 digs and two service aces. Allen added 11 kills with a block solo, while Caggiano had nine kills. Simine also added nine kills with two aces, two block solos and a block assist, while Walden and senior libero Cameron Graham (Sarasota, Fla./The Out of Door Academy) each posted match-highs in assists (39; also had 15 digs) and digs (21), respectively.

For the Huskies, sophomore outside hitter Kacey Foerster (Scarborough, Maine/Scarborough) recorded a match-best 20 kills, adding a team-high 18 digs. Senior setter Nicole Schmitz (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham) added 27 assists and 13 digs, while junior middle hitter Kylee Austin (Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy) had seven kills.

Mount Holyoke opened the first match of the day against Baruch with a 25-16 set win. Locked in a 9-all tie, the Lyons took advantage of several errors and saw Allen lay down a kill to open a 13-9 lead. It was a lead the home team would not relinquish as MHC earned four of the last five points for the set win.

Baruch battled back to take a 2-1 lead, but faced pressure in the fourth set as the two squads played to 10 ties in the frame. Facing a 22-18 deficit, the Lyons got kills from Simine and Linde, along with a service ace from Walden to pull it back to a 22-all draw.

The teams continued to trade points as junior outside hitter Anita Sengara (Vancouver, B.C./Sir Winston Churchill) laid down a kill, followed by a Simine strike to tie it at 28-28. Despite the momentum, a pair of attacking errors against MHC gave the Bearcats the match victory.

For Baruch, Sengara recorded a match-high 15 kills, adding five service aces and a team-best 16 digs. Sophomore captain and outside hitter Stella Chung (Staten Island, N.Y./M.S.I.T.) recorded 12 kills with three service aces and 13 digs, while first year opposite Ada Cao (Flushing, N.Y./Bayside) had 10 kills. Sophomore setter Katherine Chen (Queens, N.Y./Benjamin N. Cardozo) posted 28 assists, while sophomore middle hitter Mina Pantovi (Belgrade, Serbia/Newtown (N.Y.) had a match-best three block assists.

Mount Holyoke was paced by 14 kills from Caggiano, who also added 12 digs and two block assists. Allen had 12 kills with a match-high three block solos, while Simine notched eight kills, a team-best four service aces and a block solo with two block assists. Walden had a match-high 38 assists, while Linde recorded a match-best 18 digs.

In the middle match of the day between the Bearcats and the University of Southern Maine, the Huskies powered their way to a hard-fought 3-0 (25-8, 25-21, 25-22) victory. USM jumped out the gates quickly in the opening set, going on a number of runs to build up a strong lead. Foerster led the way in the frame with four kills. A back-and-forth battle in the middle frame eventually led to an 18-all tie.

USM pulled ahead on a kill from junior outside hitter Megan Gettings (Bristol, Conn./Bristol Eastern) and established a lead the Huskies would relinquish just once as the Bearcats retied the set at 21-21 behind a USM attacking error. Gettings came through once again for Southern Maine and the Huskies went on a 4-0 run to end the second set. In the third and final set, the two teams once again battled to a close one right at the end. Trailing 23-17, Baruch battled back to close the gap to 23-19, which included a pair of kills from Chung. Trailing by just one, USM sealed the victory with a pair of Baruch errors.

For Southern Maine, Gettings, Foerster and Jannarone each had eight kills. Foerster and Delissio both had 16 digs, while Schmitz had a match-best 18 assists. Baruch was paced by Sengara, who had eight kills and 10 digs with two block solos. Chung notched five kills with a match-high 17 kills, while Pantovic had three service aces.

Mount Holyoke is back in action on Tuesday when it travels to Clark for a 7pm NEWMAC tilt.