Sacred Heart Dispatches UConn, 3-1
Storrs, CT - For the second straight match the SHU women's volleyball team defeated a team from the BIG EAST, knocking off UConn, 3-1, on the road Tuesday night. Johanna Ovsenek, the 2011 SHU Invitational MVP, led the way with another superb night. The junior middle player scorched 14 kills and hit at a .444 clip to pace the Pioneer attack. Jessica Colberg (Long Beach, CA) anchored Sacred Heart on defense, recording a season high 28 digs. Kimmee Roleder (Pasadena, CA) added her third double-double in four matches, registering 12 kills and 13 digs.
Sacred Heart (6-1) had its 15 set winning streak come to an end in the opening frame with the Huskies. UConn hit only .172 but took advantage of nine SHU errors to claim the first set, 25-21. The Huskies opened the match with a 5-0 surge and the Pioneers were never able to close the gap.
Connecticut (4-3) appeared to be in control again in the second set, building a 15-10 cushion. However, Sacred Heart stormed back into the match and took a 20-19 advantage following a service ace from Megan Pulone (Diamond Bar, CA). Pulone also dished out a team high 28 assists for the Pioneers. A solo block from Maile Hetherington (Thousand Oaks, CA) and a kill from Christina Bauch (Trabuco Canyon, CA) both gave Sacred Heart set points that the Huskies would fight off. The third try was the charm as a kill from Molten/NEC player of the week Elise Sage (Greenwood Village, CO) supplied another set point. Roleder ended the next rally by putting a kill to the floor as SHU won the frame 27-25 and tied the match overall.
The Pioneers trailed early in the third set but pushed ahead at 5-4, taking the lead for good. It was never by more than three points but SHU comfortably held off the Huskies down the stretch. SHU posted its highest hitting percentage of the match in the third set at .209, slamming home 17 kills. Alissa Young (La Verne, CA) used one of her career high 11 kills to give the Pioneers set point. Dianis Mercado (Vega Baja, Puerto Rico) rang up one of her seven kills to end the set 25-23. The defending NEC Rookie of the Year was also key on the back line for Sacred Heart all night, chipping in 14 digs.
The momentum stayed with the Pioneers as they cruised out to a 4-0 lead in the fourth set, aided by two blocks from Mercado. The advantage grew to as many as six at 18-12 following a pair of UConn attacking errors and a kill from Sage. Sacred Heart took care of business in the final stages of the match and Sage got the kill to put away the Huskies in the fourth set, 25-19, as the Pioneers extended their win streak to six.
This was the first Sacred Heart match of the season that did not end in a 3-0 sweep. The Pioneers will have a chance to defeat every division I team in Connecticut having already knocked off both UConn and Hartford. SHU will meet Quinnipiac and Central Connecticut State in NEC play later in 2011 and square-off against Yale this weekend at the Spring Hill Suites at Arundel Mills Invitational. Sacred Heart will also face Delaware and tournament host Maryland during the two day event.