BOSTON, Mass. – The Simmons University women's volleyball team was defeated by visiting Wheaton College (Mass.), 3-1 (24-26, 25-19, 26-24, 25-20), this evening at Moore Gymnasium in Boston, Mass. The Sharks fall to 14-13 on the season, while the Lyons improve to 22-8.
Wheaton's defensive effort was strong at the net, recording 10 blocks on the night. Simmons committed 14 service errors on the night, while the Lyons recorded 13 miscues from the service line.
The Sharks were led by sophomore setter Faith Gray-Williams (Las Vegas, Nev.), who finished with eight kills, 19 assists, nine digs, a career-high four block assists and an ace. Sophomore outside hitter Riley Roberge (Peoria, Ariz.) tallied 13 points on eight kills and a match-best five aces, while first year outside hitter Krissy Lloyd (Tampa, Fla.) put down eight kills and got down for four digs. Sophomore libero Julia Fusco (Beverly, Mass.) led all players with 19 digs and fired an ace.
Senior middle hitter Claire Cansler (Newhall, Calif.) and first year outside hitter Adara Hamilton (Mercer Island, Wash.) each spiked for a match-high 15 kills to lead Wheaton. Cansler owned a .375 hitting percentage for the match and added five block assists, four digs and an ace for Wheaton, while Hamilton picked up nine digs, fired two aces and got up for four assisted blocks to contribute to a 19-point effort. Senior outside hitter Cathryn MacGregor (North Andover, Mass.) chipped in with nine kills, eight digs, three aces and a pair of block assists, while junior libero Maggie Shafer (Pewanukee, Wis.) finished with 16 digs and two aces. Junior setter Becca Houghton (Emmaus, Pa.) directed the offense with 38 assists, while picking up 10 digs, swinging for five kills and getting up for three block assists.
The Lyons scored six of the first seven points to take an early first-set lead, but Simmons countered with an 8-1 run, paced by a kill and an ace from Gray-Williams, to take a 9-7 margin. The Sharks later expanded their lead to 16-11, following a 6-1 burst, paced by a pair of kills from Lloyd. Wheaton reclaimed the lead, following an 8-2 charge led by a pair of kills from Cansler, to give the visitors a 19-18 edge. Simmons tallied the next four points, but the Lyons scored five of the next seven points to knot the match at 24-24. Lloyd and Gray-Williams closed out the set with the final two kills of the frame to give the Sharks a 26-24 opening set victory and a 1-0 match lead.
Wheaton took a 13-8 lead, led by two kills and an ace from Hamilton, and later maintained a 17-11 cushion. Simmons closed to within 20-18 on a 7-3 burst, including two kills and an ace from first year outside hitter Reilly Coombs (Deland, Fla.). It was as close as the home team would get as the Lyons scored five of the final six points, including three kills from Cansler, to earn a 25-19 second set triumph to even the match at 1-1.
Wheaton got out to an early lead again the third set at 12-6, behind three kills from Hamilton. The Lyons maintained a 15-9 advantage, but the Sharks ripped off five unanswered points, including a pair of aces from Roberge, to cut the deficit to 15-14. Wheaton held Simmons off and clung to a 20-17 lead, but the Sharks scored six of the next seven points to take a 23-21 lead after a kill from Lloyd. The Lyons regrouped and tallied five of the next six points, including an ace from Shafer to give them a 26-24 third set win and a 2-1 match lead.
Wheaton continued its trend of grabbing a mid-set lead with a 16-9 difference, thanks to five kills from Cansler during the stretch. The Sharks pulled to within 18-15 on a 6-2 run, fueled by three kills from Roberge and later trailed by two at 21-19. The Lyons held off their hosts and scored four of the final five points, including a kill from Hamilton that gave them the set at 25-20 and the match. The visitors hit .304 for the frame.
Simmons returns to the court on Saturday, October 27 when it travels to Nashua, N.H. for an 11:00 a.m. match, while Wheaton travels to New London, Conn. on the same day to take on New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference foe United States Coast Guard Academy for a 1:00 p.m. match.