BOSTON, Mass. – First year outside hitter Morgan Weeg (Goodyear, Ariz.) spiked for a match-high 15 kills and picked up 12 digs to lead the fourth-seeded Simmons College women's volleyball team to a 3-1 (22-25, 26-24, 25-18, 25-22) victory over visiting number five seed Lasell College this evening in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship Tournament Quartfinals at Moore Gymnasium in Boston, Mass. The Sharks have won eight of their last 10 matches and improve to 12-11 on the season, while the Lasers fall to 12-19.
Simmons advances to the semifinals for the sixth time and fifth in the last six years and will travel to Providence, R.I. on November 3 to take on top-seeded Johnson & Wales University, a 3-0 winner over Suffolk University, in a 7:00 p.m. match.
The Sharks dropped the opening set, but regrouped to take the final three frames to secure the win.
Weeg also added a pair of aces and an assisted block to her 14th double-double for Simmons and senior middle blocker Abby Hart (Westfield, Mass.) swung for 11 kills on a .333 hitting percentage to go with four digs and a solo block. First year middle blocker Allie Erk Thompson (Canton, Mass.) hit .429 on the night and put down eight kills in addition to picking up four digs and getting up for two blocks. Senior libero Alex Itasaka (Bradford, Mass.) got down for a match-high 33 digs and also reeled off a pair of long service stretches that were crucial to the Sharks' win. First year setter Kenna McCarthy (Shelter Island, N.Y.) doled out 37 assists and picked up a pair of digs.
Sophomore middle blocker Olivia Addington (Orange, Calif.) led Lasell with 14 kills and added 12 digs, while junior rightside hitter Michele Canestro (Castleton, N.Y.) put down 13 kills, in addition to nine digs and a match-high four aces. Junior setter Taylor Tiezzi (Meriden, Conn.) directed the offense for the Lasers with 32 assists and registered 10 digs for a double-double to go with two aces. Junior libero Caitlyn Garcia (Moreno Valley, Calif.) picked up 20 digs and fired three aces.
Lasell looked poised to tie the match in the fourth set, jumping out to a 12-6 lead behind four kills from Canestro. Weeg put down a kill for Simmons to put Itasaka on the service line and spark an 11-0 run that included two more kills from Weeg to give the home team a 17-12 lead. The Lasers chipped away at the deficit and closed to within 21-19 following a Canestro kill and kept it a two-point set at 24-22, before Lasell's 15th service error of the night gave the Sharks a 25-22 set win and the match victory.
Simmons scored the first four points to open the match, but Lasell ripped off 10 unanswered points, including a pair of aces from Canestro, to take a 10-4 advantage in the opening set. The Sharks rebounded to take a 14-13 edge, following a 10-3 burst, paced by two kills each from junior rightside hitter Amber Peterson (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Erk Thompson. Simmons maintained its single-point margin at 18-17, but the Lasers scored four straight points to take a 21-18 lead. The Sharks later closed to 23-22, but Lasell scored the final two points to take the frame and a 1-0 match lead.
Lasell opened an early 7-4 cushion in the second set, but Simmons put together an 11-4 stretch, as Erk Thompson and Weeg combined for four kills, to give the higher seed a 15-11 lead. The Lasers ripped off six straight points, led by two aces and a kill from Canestro, to take a 17-16 edge. The teams were later tied at 22-all and again at 24-24, before the Sharks got back-to-back kills from senior outside hitter Kat Guillotte (New Bedford, Mass.) and Weeg to take the two-point set triumph.
The Lasers began the third set the same as the previous frame, with a 7-4 lead. Addington put down two kills to lead the opening push for the visitors. Lasell later owned an 11-9 margin, but Itasaka toed the service line for Simmons and saw the Sharks score the next nine points, including three kills from Weeg, to take an 18-11 advantage. The Lasers later narrowed the gap to 19-16, but it was as close as they would get as Simmons scored six of the final eight points, including a pair of kills from Erk Thompson to take a 25-18 win for a 2-1 match lead.