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Volleyball Steals Season-Opener From Mount Holyoke, 3-2

Volleyball Steals Season-Opener From Mount Holyoke, 3-2

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) volleyball team held on for a dramatic 3-2 victory over Mount Holyoke College (MHC) in a non-conference, season-opening contest inside the newly completed O'Connell Athletic Center Saturday afternoon. It marked the first official game to ever be played inside the new gymnasium, which was completed in May of 2021. It also marked the first victory at USJ for new head coach Sheila Gisbrecht, who took over the reigns of the volleyball program in August.

The Blue Jays, who trailed two sets to one, came roaring back behind an onslaught of kills from senior outside hitter and captain Hannah Benson (Terryville, Conn.), who had a career-high 22 of them in the five-set triumph, including back-to-back kills with the match tied at 15 in the fifth and final set. It marks the first volleyball win for USJ over Mount Holyoke in more than a decade.

GAME INFORMATION
Score: Mount Holyoke 2, Saint Joseph 3
Set Scores: 25-19, 22-25, 25-14, 24-26, 15-17
Records: MHC (0-2), USJ (1-0)
Location: O'Connell Center | West Hartford, Conn.

COACH QUOTE [Sheila Gisbrecht] "It was a solid way to open the season and the OC! We showed a lot of perseverance coming back from a first set loss and then from behind in the fifth set. If we can continue to channel that, and add to our overall technical skill and power, we will surprise a few teams this season. This first match gave the team a taste of who we can become with a little consistency to our focus and energy levels. Hannah [Benson] has shown herself to be an excellent leader, especially in her consistency. She will remain a strong court presence throughout the season, and is already inspiring her teammates to reach new heights."  

GAME NOTES

  • Mount Holyoke won two sets by an average of 8.5 points, while the Blue Jays won three sets by just over two points.
  • Mount Holyoke hit .195 as a team while the Blue Jays hit just .122, but USJ posted 57 kills to MHC's 49.
  • The fifth and final set started with each team trading points, before a pair of attack errors from Saint Joseph gave Mount Holyoke a 6-4 lead. The Blue Jays clawed back into the match late, evening the score at 13 apiece following a kill from Benson. Back-to-back kills from Benson won the match for the hosts, finishing the fifth set 17-15.
  • Benson posted a double-double with her 22 kills to go along with 15 digs. She finished with a hitting percentage of .220 for the match.
  • Junior middle hitter Shannon Carey (Bayport, N.Y.) also had a nice match for USJ, registering 10 kills to go with nine digs. She hit a team-best .231.

NUMBER TO KNOW

22 – Benson led the way with 22 kills, a career-best, and nearly twice as many as any other player. Seven other Blue Jays combined for 35 kills, totaling 57 as a team.  

UP NEXT
USJ returns to the O'Connell Center Tuesday night, September 7, for a battle with the Bantams of Trinity College. The first set is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. against the cross-town foe.

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