BOSTON, Mass. – Sophomore middle blocker Megan Purser (Miami, Fla.) led the Simmons University women's volleyball team with eight kills on a .208 hitting mark in a 3-1 (25-17, 25-21, 25-27, 25-20) loss to visiting Suffolk University this evening in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference match at Moore Gymnasium in Boston, Mass. The Sharks fall to 10-12 overall, including 6-4 in league play, while the Rams have won four of their last five and improve to 8-13 overall and 5-3.
Suffolk hit .243 for the match, including .389 in the second set and got up for nine total blocks, while holding Simmons to a .094 hitting percentage. The Sharks also committed 19 service errors for the night.
Purser also added a pair of block assists, while first year outside hitter Reilly Coombs (Deland, Fla.) smashed eight kills, picked up 11 digs and fired an ace. First year middle blocker Amanda Fortune (Round Rock, Texas) swung for seven kills fueled by a .333 hitting clip and got up for two block assists and sophomore setter Faith Gray-Williams (Las Vegas, Nev.) contributed with six kills, eight digs and 15 assists. Sophomore libero Julia Fusco (Beverly, Mass.) served up three aces and added 12 digs.
Senior middle blocker Chidera Nwankwo (Canton, Mass.) hit .500 and spiked for a match-high 12 kills to lead Suffolk and added four total blocks and a dig to her evening for the Rams, while senior outside hitter Bridget Allison (Westford, Mass.) committed just one attack error and put down nine kills on a .471 hitting mark in addition to four total blocks. Sophomore outside hitter Kayla Barbera (Wakefield, R.I.) tallied 13 points on seven kills and a match-high five aces in addition to 11 digs and two block assists and senior setter Talia Lombardo (Windham, N.H.) set for 33 assists and picked up 11 digs to post her third double-double of the season. Sophomore libero Dakhensey Marcellus (Brockton, Mass.) led all players with 20 digs.
Suffolk held the home team to a -0.75 hitting percentage in the first set, while hitting .231 on its own. The Sharks scored four of the first six points of the opening set, behind a pair of kills from Coombs. Suffolk answered with an 8-3 burst to take a 10-7 lead, but Simmons later pulled even at 12-12. The Rams put together a 13-5 run, including an ace and a kill from junior middle blocker Sarah Mullahy (Mansfield, Mass.) and an ace to from Barbera to give the visitors a 25-17 opening set victory.
The Sharks jumped out to a 12-6 lead in the second frame, behind a pair of kills from Fortune and a kill and an ace from Coombs. Simmons later maintained an 18-13 cushion, but Suffolk reeled off 11 straight points, including three kills from sophomore outside hitter Hannah Fabiano (Litchfield, N.H.) and four aces from Barbera, to take a 24-18 lead. The Sharks looked to get back into the set with three unanswered points, but an attack error gave the Rams a 25-21 win for the set.
Simmons took an early 8-5 margin in the third frame, including a pair of kills from Purser. Suffolk scored eight of the next 10, including two kills from Barbera, to take a 13-10 lead. First year outside hitter Krissy Lloyd (Tampa, Fla.) spiked a pair of kills and two aces from junior setter Kenna McCarthy (Shelter Island, N.Y.) paced a 9-4 run to give the Sharks a 19-17 lead. The Rams continued the see-saw battle with five of the next seven points to claim a 22-21 edge, before Simmons tallied three of the next four to pull ahead at 24-23. Suffolk scored the next two points, including a kill from Lombardo to give the Rams match-point, but kills from Coombs and Purser set up the frame's winning ace from Fusco to keep the Sharks alive with a 27-25 set victory.
Suffolk looked to make a statement early in the fourth set, ripping off eight points in a row, including a pair of kills from Allison and two aces from senior defensive specialist Emma Feeney (Monroe, Conn.). to take an 8-1 advantage. Simmons battled to within two at 12-10, following a 9-4 burst. The Rams later maintained a 21-18 lead, before Purser put down consecutive kills to cut the home team's deficit to 21-20. Suffolk scored the final four points, including three kills from Kwankwo to win the set, 25-20, and take the match in four sets.
The Sharks return to action tomorrow night when they host Emerson College at 7:00 p.m., while the Rams head to Northfield, Vt. On October 20 to take on host Norwich University and Regis (Mass.) in a GNAC tri-match at 1:00 p.m.