WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) women's volleyball team picked up its fourth win in its last five games after defeating the visiting Becker College Hawks, 3-1, inside the O'Connell Center on Thursday evening. The Blue Jays won in four sets (28-26, 23-25, 25-23, 25-22) to improve to 6-6 on the season, while the Hawks slip to 5-4 with the loss. USJ will be back in action next on Saturday at home when they host Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) opponent Lasell at 12:00 p.m.
Freshman Hannah Benson (Terryville, Conn.) recorded her second double-double of the season to lead the way for the Blue Jays finishing tied with a team-high 11 kills to go with 15 digs. Freshman middle hitter Nina Lestrud (Torrington, Conn.) also posted 11 kills in the win, while hitting a team-best .250 in the match. Senior Torrie Epps (Windsor, Conn.) and sophomore Aminah Tsonga (Plainville, Conn.) chipped in with nine and eight kills, respectively, in a well-rounded offensive effort for the Blue Jays. Tsonga also logged a team-high 22 digs on the defensive end for USJ.
Senior setter Brenna Miller (McCleary, Wash.) facilitated the offense for the hosts and registered a season-high 39 assists and also recorded 13 digs to post her second double-double over the last three matches. She also led the way from the service line with a team-best five aces. Defensively, senior libero Janell Molina (Honolulu, Hawaii) also contributed 18 digs and freshman Madison Tufi (Manchester, Conn.) chipped in with a season-best 14 digs.
First Set: USJ 28-26
- The score was tied eight times and saw it change hands five times in a back-and-forth opening set.
- USJ would build a lead early on, 7-3, following the second kill of the set by Epps.
- The Hawks would rally though with four straight points to level things up 7-7 after a kill by sophomore Emily Peterman (Vancouver, Wash.)
- Saint Joseph answered with a 4-0 spurt of their own to rebuild an 11-7 edge capped by a Lestrud kill.
- The Blue Jays raced out to their largest lead, 18-12, on a service ace from junior Lauren Pelletier (South Windsor, Conn.).
- Becker would come storming back late with a 10-4 run to tie it up 22-22, fueled by three kills from senior Kayla Dupree (North Bergen, N.J.).
- The Hawks would stave off a pair of set points, but eventually, the Blue Jays prevailed on their third chance with a Miller kill to take the opening set, 28-16.
Second Set: Becker 25-23
- USJ would once again build a significant early lead, 19-12, in the second set.
- The Hawks didn't concede though and slowly chipped away at Saint Joseph's lead to bring it back within striking distance, 21-19.
- After the visitors managed to tie things up at 22-all, they would outscore the Blue Jays 3-1 to close the set and level the match 1-1.
- Peterman sent home a kill to account for the set-winning point.
Third Set: USJ 25-23
- Becker would charge out in front to open the third set and held a slight lead, 11-7.
- The Blue Jays would show their come-from-behind prowess and answered with an 8-4 run to even the set at 15-15.
- Both teams would trade points before the Hawks surged ahead once again, 21-17, following a solo block by Dupree.
- However, USJ came alive late and scored the final five points powered by a pair of kills from Epps, including the set-winning kill, to take the third set, 25-23.
Fourth Set: USJ 25-22
- The fourth and final set proved to be much like the other three in a hard-fought battle between both teams.
- USJ would lead early, 10-7, before the Hawks rallied to tie the set 12-12, and then go ahead 17-13.
- In total, it was a 10-3 run by the Hawks to build the 17-13 lead looking to force a decisive fifth set.
- The Blue Jays responded on their home court with a quick 4-0 spurt to level things back up 17-all and swing the momentum.
- They would carry that over and close the set and the match with an 8-5 run to claim the four-set victory.
The USJ women's volleyball team returns to action next on Saturday at home versus GNAC for Lasell. First serve is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. inside the O'Connell Center.