NORTHAMPTON, Mass. - First year setter Kenna McCarthy (Shelter Island, N.Y.) averaged nearly 12 assists per set to lead the Simmons College women's volleyball team to a 3-0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-19) victory over host Smith College this afternoon at Ainsworth Gymnasium in Northampton, Mass. The Sharks improve to 4-6 on the season, while the Pioneers fall to 2-10.
Simmons hit .242 for the match, including .357 in the opening set.
McCarthy added eight digs and a block assist for the Sharks, while first year outside hitter Morgan Weeg (Goodyear, Ariz.) put away 12 kills on a .385 hitting percentage in addition to picking up eight digs. Senior middle blocker Abby Hart (Westfield, Mass.) hit .400 for the match and swung for eight kills to go with a pair of block assists. Senior libero Alex Itasaka (Bradford, Mass.) contributed on both sides of the ball for Simmons with a match-high 16 digs and five aces.
Junior rightside hitter Elizabeth Peay (Lebanon, Conn.) led Smith with eight kills fueled by a .294 hitting mark in addition to three aces and three block assists. Sophomore Maca Rojas (Santiago, Chile) directed the action for the Pioneers with 20 assists, nine digs, an ace and a kill. Senior libero Julie Voorhes (Ramona, Calif.) picked up 16 digs and fired an ace.
The Sharks built a 10-4 opening set lead behind a pair of kills each from Weeg and junior rightside hitter Amber Peterson (Las Vegas, Nev.). Smith closed to within 10-8, following four unanswered points, including a pair of aces from first year outside hitter Kimani Freeman (Newark, N.J.). The Pioneers remained close at 19-17, but Simmons ripped off six straight points, including a pair of aces from senior Andalyn Duke (Litchfield Park, Ariz.), to take the set.
The Sharks held a 7-3 lead early in the second set, before Smith scored six of the next seven points to take a 9-8 edge. The Pioneers later led, 15-14, but Simmons put together an 11-3 stretch to pull away for the set win. Senior outside hitter Cailin Fredrickson (Columbia, Md.) paced the run with three kills and Itasaka closed out the frame with two aces to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead in the match.
Simmons looked poised to dominate the third frame, scoring six of the first seven points, including three aces from Itasaka, but Smith roared back with a 7-2 run to knot the set at 8-8. The Sharks later took an 11-9 margin, but the Pioneers scored the next five points to take their largest lead of the set at 14-11. Simmons regrouped and ripped off eight straight points on Itasaka's service to take a 19-14 advantage. First year outside hitter Helena Wiatrowski (Winchester, Mass.) put down back-to-back kills to cap a 5-2 burst and cut the deficit to 21-19 for Smith. The Sharks made the last run of the afternoon with four unanswered points to close out the match.
Simmons returns to the court on Wednesday, September 28 when it travels to Cranston, R.I. to take on Great Northeast Athletic Conference opponent Johnson & Wales University at 7:00 p.m., while the Pioneers head to Boston, Mass. on September 27 to face Emerson College at 7:00 p.m.