BOSTON – Simmons volleyball (18-6, 11-2 GNAC) clinched the second seed in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) post-season tournament sweeping Saturday afternoon's tri-match against Johnson & Wales, 3-1 and Saint Joseph's (Maine), 3-0).
The Sharks victory in the first match of the day was their first victory in seven years over the Wildcats. The last time Simmons defeated Johnson Wales was a five-set, 3-2, win on September 27, 2014 in Providence, R.I.
HOW IT HAPPENED
VS. JOHNSON & WALES, 3-1
Set 1: Simmons 25, Johnson & Wales 16
Simmons set the tone early winning the first set, 25-16 to take the 1-0 match advantage. Sophomore outside hitter Claire Conners hit .417 in the set with five kills on 12 attempts to lead the offense, while classmate Jordan Hacker led the charge defensively with five digs.
Set 2: Johnson & Wales 2, Simmons 22
The Wildcats evened the match, edging out the Sharks in the second set, 25-22. Masina Tupea posted three kills, while Emily Corbett registered four digs. Conners led the Sharks with a team-best three kills while Hacker added three digs.
Set 3: Simmons 28, Johnson & Wales 26
Conners and Iannantuono combined to hit .366 (13 kills, 30 attempts) in game three to help power Simmons to 28-26 win and take a 2-1 lead. Senior Krissy Lloyd was nearly perfect from the floor tallying four kills on five attempts.
Set 4: Simmons 30, Johnson & Wales 28
The fourth set was another back-and-forth battle between the two teams, until Johnson & Wales went on a 7-1 to take a commanding 14-7 lead. But Simmons was resilient and battled their way back to cut the deficit to four and force the Wildcats to call their first time out of the set.
Simmons fought all the way back to take a 20-19 lead on the kill by sophomore Jayla Parnell and put Johnson & Wales' backs against the wall with a 4-2 run, facing match-point at 24-21. The Sharks held on to take the final set, 30-28.
VS. SAINT JOSEPH'S COLLEGE OF MAINE, 3-0
Set 1: Simmons 25, Saint Joseph's (ME) 22
The Sharks did not back down, edging out the Monks, 25-22 in the first set. Conners led the way offensively with five kills, while Iannantuono led the charge defensively with eight digs. Hacker was not far behind with six digs..
Set 2: Simmons 25, Saint Joseph's (ME) 13
Simmons kept its foot on the accelerator with a 25-13 win in game two to take a 2-0 advantage. Conner was nearly perfect from the floor notching two kills on three attempts, while Parnell hit .400 with two kills on five attempts. Simeonidis paced he offense with six assists.
Set 3: Simmons 26, Saint Joseph's (ME) 24
Conners sealed the match in the third and final set, registering a .583 attack percentage with seven kills on 12 attempts as the Sharks held on for the 26-24 win to earn their 10th conference win of the year.
- Sophomore Claire Conners came one kill shy of tying her career single-game best, notching 19 against Johnson & Wales in the first match of the day.
- Conners posted a .378 attacker percentage on the day, tallying 33 kills on 74 attempts with just five errors.
- Sophomore setter Kat Simeondis continued to dominate at the service line, recording seven aces against the Wildcats (4) and Monks (3).
- Juunior Sydney Iannantuono notched her ninth double-double of the year against the Johnson & Wales, with 13 kills and 15 digs.
Simmons will wait to see who their opponent will be in the GNAC tournament, scheduled to begin on Tuesday, Nov. 2.