BOSTON, Mass. - First years Emmee Ashby (Payson, Ariz.) (16 kills) and Sarah Woodward (Deerfield, Mass.) (9 kills, 13 digs) led the Simmons College volleyball team to a 3-1 (19-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-11) victory this evening in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference match at the Jean Yawkey Center in Boston, Mass. The Sharks have won six straight and nine of their last 12 to improve to 9-13 on the season, while the Saints fall to 19-10 and suffer their first conference loss, dropping them to 6-1.
Simmons' defense played a major role in the team's victory, registering 10 blocks and 68 digs in the four-set contest. The Sharks overcame losing the first set with an efficient attack that saw them hit .258 for the match and a gaudy .452 in the deciding set.
The Colleges of the Fenway (COF) rivalry also marked Emmanuel's "Dig Pink" contest, as both the Saints and Simmons donned pink warm-up jerseys. Coaches and spectators wore pink attire and the referees officiated the match with pink whistles, all in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness.
Emmanuel jumped out to an early lead, posting a 25-19 win in the opening set. The Sharks successfully battled back taking the next three sets, 25-22, 25-21 and 25-11.
Danielle Rose (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) and Cassie Chruscelski (Duluth, Minn.) led the Saints' offense in the opening set, slamming down four kills apiece. The duo accounted for four of the hosts' final six points in the set one win.
Simmons rebounded in the second, surging out to an early lead. Emmanuel was able to forge ties twice at 8-all and 11-all, before the visitors took the lead for good. The Sharks went on a 9-1 run, backed by the strong serving of Woodward to jump out in front, 20-12. The Saints then put together a 9-3 run to bring the set back into contention, with EC trailing, 23-21. Kills from Simmons rookies Emmee Ashby (Payson, Ariz.) and Woodward ended it for the Saints, as the Sharks pulled out the 25-22 set two win.
The third set saw seven ties in the early going, with the final one coming at 14-all. Simmons then rattled off a 6-0 run, capitalizing on several Emmanuel attack errors. A strong kill from Simmons sophomore middle hitter Abby Hart (Westfield, Mass.) ended the set at 25-21 in favor of the Sharks.
The visitors led end to end in the fourth, powering out to a 7-0 lead. Ashby was dominant throughout, slamming down five kills in the set, as the Sharks cruised to the 25-11 win and the 3-1 match victory.
Ashby finished with a match-high 16 kills, coming off of 28 swings with only three errors (.464 hitting) for Simmons. Woodward recorded nine kills and 13 digs for a near double-double, while Hart and junior right side hitter Nicole Alberghini (Northborough, Mass.) chipped in with seven kills apiece. Hart added eight blocks to her stat line (1 BS, 7 BA). Sophomore libero Alex Itasaka (Bradford, Mass.) gathered a match-high 19 digs, while sophomore setter Andalyn Duke (Litchfield Park, Ariz.) handed out 34 assists in the win.
Emmanuel was led by a 14-kill, five-dig effort from Rose. Chruscielski tallied 11 kills and eight digs, while sophomore middle Kaitlyn Atkinson (Brookline, N.H.) finished with 10 kills. Junior setter Shannon Dudley (Morro Bay, Calif.) dished out 31 assists to go along with her team-high 18 digs in the effort for the Saints.
The Sharks will be in action again on Saturday, October 25 playing in a GNAC tri-match at Suffolk University with Mount Ida College with an 11:00 a.m. start, while Emmanuel plays again on the same day, traveling to West Hartford, Connecticut for a GNAC tri-match with host University of Saints Joseph and Johnson & Wales University.