BOSTON, Mass. – Junior middle blocker Megan Purser (Miami, Fla.) smashed eight kills on a .438 hitting mark to lead the Simmons University women's volleyball team over visiting Rivier University, 3-0 (25-11, 25-21, 25-20), in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference match this evening at Moore Gymnasium in Boston, Mass. The Sharks have won nine of their last 11 matches and improve to 11-5 overall, including 5-1 in league play, while the Raiders fall to 13-4 and 2-1.
Purser committed just one attack error on the night and added a dig and a block assist, while junior outside hitter Morgan Weeg (Goodyear, Ariz.) swung for eight kills and hit .278 for the match to go with a pair of digs and an assisted block. Sophomore middle blocker Amanda Fortune (Round Rock, Texas) also contributed with five kills on a .333 hitting percentage. Junior setter Faith Gray-Williams (Las Vegas, Nev.) set for 22 assists in addition to six digs and a pair of block assists and junior libero Morgan Lauvray (Murrieta, Calif.) led all players with 16 digs and three aces.
Sophomore outside hitter Sydney Racevicius (Woodbury, Conn.) led all hitters with nine kills and added eight digs for Rivier, while junior middle hitter Julia Zargaj (Groveland, Mass.) put down seven kills, got up for five block assists and picked up a dig. Sophomore setter Avery Pollard (Ballston Lake, N.Y.) directed the offense with 21 assists to go with three kills, five digs and a pair of block assists. Senior outside hitter Taylor Dunster (Sutton, Mass.) led the visitors' defensive effort with 12 digs and added four kills and an ace.
Rivier scored the first point of the opening set, but Simmons went on a 13-2 run, fueled by four kills from Purser, to give the home team a 13-3 lead. The Sharks later maintained an 18-8 advantage advantage, before closing out the frame with a 7-3 stretch, including a pair of aces from Lauvray, to take the first set, 25-11.
The Raiders led for much of the second set, taking a 14-10 margin, after a 5-1 run, capped by an ace from Dunster. Simmons responded with seven unanswered points on the serve of Gray-Williams and a pair of kills from Weeg to take a 17-14 lead. Rivier later pulled even at 18-18, but the Sharks scored six of the next eight points, including two kills from Purser, to take a 24-20 lead. Sophomore middle hitter Krissy Lloyd (Tampa, Fla.) spiked for the deciding point and a 25-21 second set win for Simmons.
The Sharks never trailed in the final set, opening a 5-1 lead. Simmons extended its advantage to 12-5 and maintained a 15-10 margin as well. The Raiders chipped away, putting together a 6-2 burst, behind three kills from Racevicius, to pull to within 17-16. Rivier stayed close at 21-19, but the Sharks tallied four of the final five points, including a kill from Weeg to give Simmons the set and match victory.
The Sharks return to action tomorrow night when they travel to Norton, Mass. to take on Wheaton College (Mass.) at 7:00 p.m., while the Raiders host Salve Regina University and Westfield State University in tri-match action on October 12 at 11:00 a.m.