Smithfield, RI – The SHU women's volleyball team defeated the Bryant Bulldogs for the second time in a week, registering a 3-1 triumph on the road Saturday afternoon. Dianis Mercado (Vega Baja, Puerto Rico) posted a match high 16 kills while Jessica Colberg (Long Beach, CA) notched an incredible 25 digs. The win is the Pioneers 21st consecutive victory over Northeast Conference opponents.
Sacred Heart (12-5, 3-0 NEC) stormed out to a 7-3 advantage in the opening frame following a Megan Pulone (Diamond Bar, CA) service ace and a kill from Kimmee Roleder (Pasadena, CA). Pulone tallied 28 assists in the match, tying her season high, and Alisa Mesa (Long Beach, CA) dished out 23 helpers. Roleder chipped in 12 kills and 10 digs on the afternoon for her ninth double-double of 2011. The Pioneers compiled a .444 hitting percentage in the opening set, cruising to a 25-14 win.
The Pioneer offense kept rolling in the second set, totaling a match high 16 kills. Elise Sage (Greenwood Village, CO) issued 10 kills in the match as did teammate Alissa Young (La Verne, CA). Young, who struggled against Marquette, broke out with a huge match today en route to a .429 hitting percentage. The Bulldogs never faced a large gap in the set but the Pioneers took back-to-back points on a Sage kill and a Mesa service ace to put away the game, 25-20.
Bryant (6-12, 1-3 NEC) secured a 6-0 lead to start the third set, largely benefiting from five SHU errors. However, Sacred Heart battled back and used a 9-3 spurt, capped by two straight kills from Sage, to go on top 14-12. Late in the set the Bulldogs rattled off five straight points to grab a 21-18 edge. Emily Kaup led Bryant with 11 kills in the match as the home team avoided the sweep by claiming the third set, 25-21.
The Pioneers built a 7-2 lead in the fourth as Johanna Ovsenek (London, Ontario) slammed home two of her nine kills of the match on consecutive points. Kelsey Freeman (Denver, CO) finished the match with five kills on six swings playing on the right side. Mercado sealed the match with kills in the final two points as Sacred Heart earned the set, 25-19, and secured the 3-1 victory.
The women's volleyball team remains on the road tomorrow afternoon for a Northeast Conference tilt against Central Connecticut State.