BOSTON, Mass. – Junior outside hitter Morgan Weeg (Goodyear, Ariz.) put down 15 kills and junior setter Faith Gray-Williams (Las Vegas, Nev.) averaged over 12 assists per set to lead the second-seeded Simmons University women's volleyball team over visiting seventh-seeded Saint Joseph's College (Maine), 3-0, (25-9, 25-17, 25-22) this evening in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship Tournament Quarterfinals at Moore Gymnasium in Boston, Mass. The Sharks win their third straight match and five of their last six to improve to 19-8 on the season, while the Monks close out their campaign at 8-22.
Simmons advances to the GNAC Semifinals where they will host number three seed Rivier University, a 3-0 winner over Norwich University, on Thursday, November 7 at Moore Gymnasium at 7:00 p.m.
The Sharks hit .326 for the match, including a scorching .591 in the opening set and added 10 aces to their night.
Weeg hit .243 for the match and added a dig, while Gray-Williams finished with 37 assists to go with 10 digs for her eighth double-double of the season for Simmons. She also fired an ace and put down a kill. Sophomore middle blocker Amanda Fortune (Round Rock, Texas) hit a torrid .636 for the contest to fuel a seven-kill effort without a miscue in addition to a match-high four aces and two digs, while classmate Krissy Lloyd (Tampa, Fla.) put down seven kills as well on a .500 hitting mark to go with a pair of block assists. Junior libero Morgan Lauvray (Murrieta, Calif.) posted a match-best 13 digs and served up an ace.
Sophomore middle blocker Sarah Quinn (Dover, N.H.) led the Saint Joseph's offense with eight kills behind a .375 hitting rate and added two digs, an ace and a block assist, while junior middle blocker Erin Olson (Stoughton, Mass.) put down six kills and got up for three block assists. First year setter Hannah Bureau (Alton, N.H.) set for 16 assists, picked up a pair of digs and assisted on three blocks and junior libero Madison Provencher (Rochester, N.H.) got down for seven digs and registered four assists.
The Sharks raced out to a 15-5 advantage in the first frame, behind five kills from Weeg. Simmons maintained a 16-8 lead before closing out the set with nine of the final 10 points, including three more kills from Weeg and a pair of aces from Fortune for a 25-9 triumph.
The teams played within two points of each other for most of the midway point of the second set. The Sharks held a 12-11 edge before ripping off six of the next seven points, including a pair of kills from first year outside hitter Sydney Iannantuono (East Lyme, Conn.), to take an 18-12 margin. Senior outside hitter Kelsey Bickford (Somersworth, N.H.) put down a kill to pull the Monks to within 19-15, but Simmons closed out the frame with a 6-2 stretch, capped by a Gray-Williams kill to give the home team the set at 25-17.
Saint Joseph's led for most of the third set and took its largest lead of the night at 17-9, behind four kills from Bickford. The Sharks collected themselves and reeled off eight unanswered points during Gray-Williams' serve with Weeg spiking for three kills and Lloyd putting away two as Simmons pulled even at 17-17. The Monks clung to a 19-18 lead later in the set, but a kill from Iannantuono and an ace from Lauvray gave the Sharks a lead they would not relinquish for the remainder of the match at 20-19. Quinn swung for her final kill of the evening for Saint Joseph's to bring the visitors to within 21-20, but Simmons scored four of the final six points, including a kill from Weeg to give the Sharks the set and the match.