West Hartford, Conn. - The University of Saint Joseph volleyball team swept the Pine Manor Gators 3-0 inside the O'Connell Athletic Center on Thursday night. The Blue Jays downed the Gators in straight sets (25-22, 25-16, 25-10) to even their overall record at 2-2. Pine Manor drops to 1-3 with the loss.
The Blue Jays started off the match hot and jumped out to an early 10-5 lead in the opening set. Sophomore Brenna Miller (McCleary, WA/Elma) wasted little time and posted a pair of service aces on her first two service attempts of the night. The Gators would make things interesting however, and came storming back to tie the match, 13-13. Junior Ashley Whiteside (Seward, AK/Seward) capped off the run with back-to-back service aces of her own for PMC. Both teams would trade points throughout the remainder of the set until USJ buckled down and closed out the set with a 4-0 to take the opener 25-22. Junior Hannah Lemek (Bristol, CT/Bristol Central) posted a clutch kill to even the first set at 22-22 and then punched home the set-winning kill three points later.
USJ would dominate the remainder of the match after the opening set scare. In the second set, the Blue Jays raced out to an early 10-4 lead and would never look back. They then extended their lead to 22-8 before the Gators attempted to mount a vicious comeback, closing the margin to 24-16, but that would be as close as they would get after a PMC service error ended the set 25-16 in favor of the home team. Freshman Jasmine Buckley (Beacon, NY/Beacon) led USJ with three kills in the set, while sophomore Carly Ruzbasan (Torrington, CT/Torrington) added two service aces.
The third and final set proved to be all USJ as they took advantage of 10 attacking errors by the Gators who hit -.304 for the set. Once again the Blue Jays sped out early to an early advantage and lead 9-5 after back-to-back attack errors by Pine Manor. Then following a service error by USJ, the Blue Jays would go on a 10-0 run to go up 19-6 and eventually close out the visitors 25-10 for the 3-0 victory.
Buckley, Lemek and senior Cassandra Grimaldi (Manchester, CT/Manchester) led the Blue Jays with five kills each in the victory. Miller ran the USJ offense and posted 20 assists on the night while also adding three service aces, six digs and a pair of block assists.
Freshman Kendra Williams (San Diego, CA/Whitney) led the Gators with five kills on nine total attacks with just two errors to post a respectable .333 hitting percentage on the evening. Whiteshield finished with 12 assists and freshman Alexa Leon (El Centro, CA/Southwest) compiled a game-high 13 digs.
The USJ volleyball team will return to action next on Wednesday, Sept. 14 when they travel to Mitchell College for a 7 p.m. match against the Mariners. The Gators will next face off in a tri-match on Saturday, Sept. 10 hosted by Becker College with Maine at Presque Isle beginning at 11 a.m.