PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The Simmons College volleyball team came from behind in both of its matches to come away with a 3-1 (23-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-13) win over Anna Maria College and a 3-2 (19-25, 22-25, 25-18, 25-19, 17-15) victory over host Johnson & Wales University in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference tri-match this afternoon at the Wildcat Center in Providence, R.I.
The Sharks improve to 2-10 overall and 2-1 in league play, while the AMCATS, who lost a 25-14, 25-18, 25-14 decision to the Wildcats, are now 6-7 and 1-3. Johnson & Wales now stands at 5-8 and 2-1.
Simmons opened up a 5-0 lead in the opening set vs. Anna Maria, but the AMCATS put together a 16-5 run, fueled by four aces, including two from senior outside hitter Jacqueline Clinton (Walpole, Mass.). Anna Maria later maintained a 19-14 margin, but the Sharks pulled ahead at 21-20, thanks to a pair of kills from first year middle blocker Emme Ashby (Payson, Ariz.) and two aces from junior defensive specialist Chanel Thomas (Phoenix, Ariz.). The AMCATS regrouped ad scored five of the final seven points to take the set, 25-23. Simmons raced out to a 9-3 advantage in the second frame and later owned a 14-8 lead, before Anna Maria shot back with an 11-5 run to knot the score at 19-19. The Sharks controlled the remainder of the set, going on a 6-2 run to close it out, behind a pair of kills from sophomore middle hitter Abby Hart (Westfield, Mass.). Simmons doubled up the AMCATS early in the third set with a 14-7 lead, paced by four kills from first year outside hitter Sarah Woodward (Deerfield, Mass.). Anna Maria later closed to within 20-18, but it was as close as it would get as the Sharks scored five of the final seven points to win the set. Simmons dominated the fourth set, taking a 14-4 cushion led by three kills from Ashby and two aces by first year defensive specialist Susan Wilson (Winchester, Mass.). The AMCATS never got closer than 15-9 following a kill from junior middle hitter Jessica Goulet (Lawrence, Mass.). The Sharks enjoyed a 10-4 stretch to win the set and the match.
Ashby finished with a match-high 13 kills on a tidy .323 hitting percentage to go with two digs and two solo blocks for Simmons, while sophomore setter Andalyn Duke (Litchfield Park, Ariz.) set for 39 assists, fired three aces, put down a trio of kills and scooped up five digs. Woodward totaled 12 kills on a .296 hitting mark and added seven digs and an ace. Thomas contributed on both sides of the net with a match-high 15 digs and four of the team's 11 aces. Goulet led the Anna Maria offensive attack wtih eight kills to go with a .294 hitting percentage and five digs. Junior setter Samantha Parker (Athol, Mass.) set for 28 helpers in addition to spiking five kills and getting 10 digs.
The Sharks and Johnson & Wales played within four points of each other for most of the first set. The Wildcats held onto a 19-17 margin before closing out the set with six of the final eight points for a 25-19 decision. The second set was even tighter with neither team leading by more than four points for the entire frame. Woodward put down a kill to give Simmons an early 6-2 margin for the set's largest lead, but six unanswered points by Johnson & Wales gave it a lead it would not relinquish for the rest of the set. Duke later put away a kill to cut the deficit to 22-21 for the Sharks, but the home team scored four of the next five points to win the set, 25-22.
Down 2-0 in sets, Simmons fought back into the match with a convincing 25-18 triumph in the third set. The Sharks held a 19-16 lead before opening it up with six of the final eight points. Senior Alyssa Drapeau (Biddeford, Maine) swung for a kill to give the Wildcats the first point of the fourth set, but it was their last lead as Simmons went on a blistering 14-4 string, fueled by three kills from Woodward. Johnson & Wales closed to within 14-10 with five straight points, including a pair of kills from Drapeau, but a 6-2 run by the Sharks gave it a comfortable 20-12 advantage, en-route to a 25-19 set win. Hart came through with three kills in Simmons' final six points.
The Wildcats looked like they would run away with the fifth set, taking a 7-1 lead, paced by three kills from senior middle blocker Lauren Cordts (Amherst, N.H.). Simmons came all the way back to tie the frame at 9-9, courtesy of two kills and a pair of aces from Ashby. The Sharks scored three of the next four points to take a 12-10 lead, keyed by another ace from Ashy and a kill by Hart. Johnson & Wales later took a 15-14 edge, following a pair of kills from junior outside hitter Paula Cavadid (Pawtucket, R.I.), to give the home team match point. Simmons refused to quit as Ashby tied the match with a kill and following an attack error by the Wildcats, Thomas fired her only ace of the match to give the Sharks their second win of the afternoon.
Duke finished with a career-high 57 assists and added 15 digs and three kills for Simmons, while Ashby put away a personal-best 18 kills with a searing .452 hitting percentage in addition to a career-high three aces and a block solo. Woodward spiked for 17 kills on a .316 hitting mark, picked up eight digs and fired an ace, while Thomas got down for 14 digs. Cadavid led Johnson & Wales with 16 kills and added 14 digs, while junior setter Kellen Tensen (New Canaan, Conn.) also set for 57 assists to go with seven digs and two block assists. Drapeau finished with a double-double of 14 kills and 15 digs.
The Sharks will be in action again Tuesday, September 30 when they head to Newton, Mass. to take on GNAC foe Lasell College at 7:00 p.m., while the Wildcats head across town to take on Rhode Island College on the same night at 6:00 p.m. Anna Maria will take the court again on the same night as well with a road-trip against Salem State University at 7:00 p.m.