Pioneers Down Rutgers 3-1 To Open Holly Young Invitational

The SHU women's volleyball team upended Rutgers 3-1 at the Holly Young Invitational in the second meeting between the two sides this season.  Sophomore Elise Sage (Greenwood Village, CO) led the Pioneer attack, slamming home 16 kills and making just one error the entire match en route to a .625 hitting percentage. 

Rutgers (6-5) got off to a hot start and put together three straight kills to take an early 6-3 lead.  The Pioneers closed the gap to 8-7 as Johanna Ovsenek (London, Ontario) dropped in one of her seven kills of the afternoon.  The Scarlet Knights rattled off five straight points to surge back ahead to a more comfortable 13-7 advantage. 

Sacred Heart (7-4) again mounted a comeback, this time aided by a six point streak, to fight back into the set and eventually draw even at 20-20.  But Rutgers controlled the action late and pulled ahead 24-21 to set up three set points.  The Pioneers fought off the first two on back-to-back Sage kills, forcing a Scarlet Knight time out.  A SHU attack error on the next play gave the opening set to Rutgers, 25-23.

The Scarlet Knights came off the bench to another quick start in set two, building a 10-5 cushion.  Four straight Rutgers errors allowed the Pioneers to take their first lead of the match at 14-13 in the second set.  Sacred Heart put the set away at 25-19 after four consecutive points concluding with a service ace from Sage to even the match at one set each.

The third set remained close throughout as neither side took more than a point lead starting at 15-15.  The Pioneers had the first match point but RU's Stephanie Zielinski tallied a kill after a Scarlet Knight timeout.  A Rutgers service error set up a second match point for the Pioneers and Christina Bauch (Trabuco Canyon, CA) served an ace to end the set 26-24.

The Pioneers put together two streaks of at least five points as they cruised to a 25-17 victory in the final set.   Sacred Heart hit .433 in the final frame including four kills from Ashlyn Trimble (Temecula, CA), who also had four blocks in the set.  Trimble finished the match with 12 kills and a .440 hitting percentage on 25 attempts.  It was Bauch who had the final point of the match on her seventh kill of the afternoon.

The women's volleyball team continues action at the Holly Young Invitational with matches against Dartmouth and host New Hampshire.