Pioneers Finish as NEC Regular Season Co-Champions; Defeat Robert Morris, 3-0
Moon Township, PA – The Sacred Heart women's volleyball team used a potent offense to secure a share of the programs second straight Northeast Conference regular season title Sunday afternoon in a 3-0 sweep of Robert Morris. Kimmee Roleder (Pasadena, CA) blasted 15 kills and posted a .500 hitting percentage in the victory. Alisa Mesa (Long Beach, CA) distributed 39 assists and directed the offense to a blistering .367 hitting percentage for the match.
Sacred Heart (25-7, 14-2) jumped out to an early 4-0 in the opening set in a spurt that included a pair of Roleder kills. The Colonials closed to within two at 9-7 after back-to-back rare attacking errors from the Pioneers. However, SHU rattled off ten of the next 12 points to build a comfortable cushion at 19-9. The home side would make thigns tense down the stretch as one of Lindsey Monger's match high 16 kills cut the Pioneer advantage to 21-19. Sacred Heart would get the first set point at 24-21 following a RMU service error and another Colonial miscue gave the Pioneers the first game, 25-21.
Robert Morris (15-16, 10-6 NEC) would never have a lead in the second set as the Pioneer attack fired on all cylinders. SHU ripped 17 kills without making a single error in the frame en route to an impressive .630 hitting percentage. Elise Sage (Greenwood Village, CO) contributed four kills on five swings in the set and would finish with nine kills overall as well as a .533 swinging mark. Dianis Mercado (Vega Baja, Puerto Rico) put the final point to the floor at 25-12 with one of her eight kills. The reigning NEC rookie of the year also led the SHU defense with 11 digs for the match.
The Pioneers would again get hot in the middle of the third set, putting together a 15-7 surge to open up an 18-10 edge. Alissa Young (La Verne, CA) chipped in a trio of kills in the frame as the Pioneers notched a .343 hitting mark in the third set. Johanna Ovsenek (London, Ontario) ended the match and sealed the Pioneers regular season title with a kill to end the set, 25-17, and the match, 3-0.
The Pioneers will be seeded second in next weekend's Northeast Conference Tournament after all possible tiebreakers with Long Island were exhausted and the Blackbirds won a coin toss that followed the conclusion of today's NEC Men's Soccer Championship Game. Sacred Heart will take on #3 Central Connecticut State, a team SHU has upended twice by the score of 3-1, Saturday afternoon as SHU looks to win back-to-back NEC Tournament crowns.