BOSTON, Mass. – Sophomore outside hitter Morgan Weeg (Goodyear, Ariz.) spiked for 15 kills on a .462 hitting percentage to lead the second-seeded Simmons College women's volleyball team to a 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 29-27) victory over visiting number seven seed Suffolk University this evening in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship Tournament Quarterfinals at Moore Gymnasium in Boston, Mass. The Sharks win their school-record 11th straight contest to improve to 20-9 on the season to match the school standard for wins in a season, while the Rams end their season with a 13-16 record.
Simmons advances to the GNAC Semifinals on Thursday, November 2 at 7:00 p.m. at Moore Gymnasium and will host third-seeded Rivier University, which defeated sixth-seeded Saint Joseph's College (Maine), 25-11, 26-24, 25-14, earlier this evening.
Weeg fell a dig short of a double-double with nine to go with an ace for the Sharks, while first year hitter Jarene Harberts (Naples, Fla.) put down 13 kills, picked up three digs and fired an ace. Sophomore setter Kenna McCarthy (Shelter Island, N.Y.) set for a match-high 23 assists and added three digs, while first year outside hitter Riley Roberge (Peoria, Ariz.) chipped in with six kills on a .308 hitting clip to go with three aces, four digs and a block assist. Junior middle hitter Alexandra Erk Thompson (Canton, Mass.) registered a .500 hitting mark with five kills and also came up with a pair of digs.
Junior outside hitter Talia Lombardo (Windham, N.H.) led Suffolk with eight kills on a .273 hitting percentage and got down for eight digs. Junior Rachel Fancy (Agawam, Mass.) and first year Meg Kerek (Holbrook, Mass.) each set for six assists and picked up two digs each. Junior middle hitter Bridget Allison (Westford, Mass.) chipped in with two kills, two digs, three total blocks and an ace.
Simmons hit .312 for the match, while holding the Rams to a .000 hitting mark. The Sharks' hitting prowess was key to overcome 19 service errors for the match.
Simmons hit a robust .452 in the opening set and took an early 9-5 margin, behind two kills each from Weeg and Harberts. Suffolk closed to within 11-9, but the Sharks reeled off seven unanswered points during Weeg's service and got a kill and an ace from the sophomore to give the home team a comfortable 18-9 advantage. First year libero Julia Fusco (Beverly, Mass.) gave Simmons its largest lead at 21-10, following an ace, before the Sharks took the set, 25-15.
Simmons hit .333 for the second frame, but the Rams took an early 6-3 lead. The Sharks chipped away and put together an 8-3 run, fueled by three kills from Weeg, to take an 11-9 lead. Suffolk later pulled to within a point at 13-12, but Simmons went on a 9-3 stretch, paced by a pair of kills from Weeg, to take a 22-15 lead. The Sharks closed out the set to take a 2-0 match lead.
Simmons held the Rams to a -.062 hitting percentage in the third set, but committed eight service errors to keep the visitors within striking distance. The teams played within a point of each for most of the first 35 points of the set with Suffolk owning a 17-16 edge. The Sharks scored four straight points to take a 20-17 lead, but the Rams answered with three points in a row to tie it. The deadlock was one of 20 ties during the set. The Rams served for the set with a 27-26 lead, but couldn't capture the final point as Simmons tallied the final three points of the set, including a kill from senior right side hitter Amber Peterson (Las Vegas, Nev.) to give the home team the victory.