STANDISH, ME - #5 Simmons College (11-24, 7-4 GNAC) rallied from a 2-1 match deficit with consecutive set victories to defeat #4 Saint Joseph's College (19-12, 7-4 GNAC), 3-2, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Women's Volleyball Tournament quarterfinal at the Harold Alfond Center on Tuesday night.
With the victory, Simmons advances in the tournament and will face off against top-seeded Rivier University in a GNAC tourney semifinal match on Thursday evening. The Raiders blanked #8 Norwich University, 3-0, in other tournament action in Nashua, New Hampshire this evening. The loss signals the end of the 2013 campaign for Saint Joseph's College.
In the opening set, Simmons employed a potent attack at the net, with 10 kills and only three errors, to secure an easy 25-12 victory. Saint Joseph's responded with hard-fought 25-19 and 25-16 wins to gain a 2-1 lead and the Monks seemed poised to notch the program's first-ever GNAC Tournament triumph. But the Sharks, trailing 23-22 in the fourth set with their season on the line, scored three straight points – punctuated by a set-clinching Morgan Kieon (North Attleboro, Mass.) ace - and evened the match at two-apiece with a 25-23 win.
The outlook was bleak early in the fifth set for the Monks, as the visiting Sharks raced out to a 9-3 lead. St Joe's proceeded to go on a 10-4 run, a string that included five kills from sophomore Felicia Wachowiak (Milton, N.H.), to tie the deciding set 13-13. But it was not in the cards for the Royal Blue, as a pair of unforced errors resulted in the Sharks earning a 15-13 win and a 3-2 tournament victory.
For the Monks, Wachowiak tallied 18 kills and six total blocks, freshman Victoria Huntley (Ellsworth, Maine) recorded 10 kills and 15 digs, sophomore Abbie McPhee (Epping, N.H.) added 28 digs and three aces, and freshman setter Mariah Hebert (Biddeford, Maine) registered 31 assists and 15 digs.
For the Sharks, freshman Kat Guillotte (New Bedford, Mass.) posted nine kills, 18 digs, six aces and seven total blocks, senior Megan Chamberlin (Milford, Mass.) boasted eight kills, 15 digs and 10 total blocks and Kieon chipped in with eight kills, 27 assists, four aces and 13 digs. Senior Rossi Fish (North Attleboro, Mass.) added six service aces and eight digs and freshman libero Alexandria Itasaka (Bradford, Mass.) pulled down 25 digs in the tournament victory.