Sacred Heart Splits Two Tight Matches with UMBC and Ohio State

The Pioneer women's volleyball team dropped a four set decision to Ohio State before rallying for a hard fought victory over co-host UMBC today at the Madison Bingaman Memorial Tournament.

Sacred Heart (6-4) took the opening set of the day against OSU in dramatic fashion by the score of 29-27.  The Buckeyes appeared to take control of the game late, running off four straight points to build a 19-14 cushion.  SHU head coach Rob Machan took a timeout and his team responded winning three consecutive points to close the gap. 

Ohio State (8-1) would have two set points starting at 24-22 but the Pioneers evened the match after a service error paired with one of Johanna Ovsenek's (London, Ontario) team leading four kills of the set.  Junior Ashlyn Trimble (Temecula, CA) dropped in one of her nine kills of the contest to give SHU a match point.  Freshman Christina Bauch (Trabuco Canyon, CA) slammed home the final point to give Sacred Heart the first set victory.

The Buckeyes exploded out of the gates to grab a 9-3 lead in the second set after a kill from Katie Dull.  The Pioneers clawed back into the set and eventually won four straight points to take the lead at 19-18 after a service ace from Elise Sage (Greenwood Village, CO).  Two straight SHU attack errors at 21-21 allowed the Buckeyes to push ahead late.  Dianis Mercado (Vega Baja, Puerto Rico) supplied a kill to cut the deficit to 23-22 but an OSU kill from Anna Szerszen along with another SHU attack error gave Ohio State the set.

Ohio State dominated the third set hitting .458 on 13 kills and two errors as they cruised to a 25-21 win.  Emily Danks and Dull each powered in four kills for the Buckeyes without making an error. The Pioneers struggled and hit only .037 in the set as OSU tallied five blocks.  The Buckeyes forced SHU into a negative hitting percentage in the fourth after notching seven blocks.  Ohio State won the fourth set 25-18 to snap the Pioneers five game winning streak.  Mercado paced Pioneers for the match with 10 kills while Jessica Colberg (Long Beach, CA) tallied a match high 16 digs.

The Pioneers earned a hard fought win in the second match of the day against co-host UMBC in a four set contest.  Mercado and Ovsenek each contributed 15 kills in the 23-25, 27-25, 30-28, 26-24 victory.  Trimble added 14 kills of her own while Colberg recorded a match high 24 digs and Kidd-Kadlubek tallied 58 assists.

UMBC (4-5) played neck and neck with the Pioneers throughout the first set as neither team built more than a three point cushion.  The Terriers rallied from down 21-23 to win four straight points on two kills from Ali Goc and a pair of SHU attack errors.  Goc put in seven kills without an error in the set as UMBC went up 1-0 on the 25-23 opening game victory.

Sacred Heart got six kills from Mercado in the second set as they would even the match at 1-1.  The Terriers saved two game points at 24-22 but the Pioneers earned another at 26-25 on the strength of a Mercado kill.  UMBC's Emily Vandegrift made an error on the next play as SHU came away with the 27-25 triumph.

The third set would be the closest of the Pioneers season with SHU coming out on top 30-28.  Ovsenek fueled the offense in the set with six kills as the Pioneers hit .240 in the set.  Each side fought off multiple set points to keep the set alive at 28-28.  Ovsenek's kill set up by Kidd-Kadlubek gave SHU its fourth opportunity to win the set at 29-28.  The Terriers broke first as an attack error from Sabrina Hoeks ened the set 30-28 for SHU.

UMBC appeared to be on its way to forcing a fifth set as they took an early 8-3 lead in the fourth.  Sacred Heart rallied to win five straight points and cut the Terrier lead to 16-15.  UMBC still had the advantage late though with two set point chances at 24-22.  Kills from Sage and Hetherington evened the score and gave Sacred Heart the momentum.  Hoeks then committed a ball handling error to give SHU a match point and Trimble smoked a service ace as the Pioneers came away with the extremely tight four set victory.

The women's volleyball team returns to action next weekend as they travel to New Hampshire for three matches at the Holly Young Invitational.