Pioneers Finish Non-Conference Schedule with Loss to UCONN

Dianis Mercado had 11 kills and 14 digs vs. Fairleigh Dickinson
Dianis Mercado had 11 kills and 14 digs vs. Fairleigh Dickinson

Fairfield, Conn.—The Sacred Heart Women's Volleyball Team closes out their non-conference schedule with a 3-0 loss to UCONN Wednesday night at home. The Pioneers switched up the rotation with Elise Sage (Greenwood Village, Colo.) out with an injury. Dianis Mercado (Vega Baja, PR) played her first match of the season outside, and Alissa Young (La Verne, Calif.) played her first match of the season at middle as SHU falls to 2-12 on the season. Despite the shut out, the Sacred Heart got better as the night went on, improving every set. Young led the Pioneers hitting .571 in the match with five kills.

The Huskies came out tough in the first set, claiming a 4-0 lead before Mercado's first kill of the season put the Pioneers on the board. Sacred Heart could not manage to string anything together, however, and UCONN's lead continued to grow. The Pioneers cut the lead to three with the score at 8-5, but that was as close as they would get, as the Huskies went on to win the set 25-17.

Natalie Kridel's (Huntington Beach, Calif.) kill to open the second set got Sacred Heart on the board early, but was topped as UCONN answered with three points of their own to, once again, claim a lead they would not relinquish. Kridel recorded a .500 kill percentage in the 25-19 loss, with three kills on six attempts.

Sacred Heart took their first multi-point lead of the match in the third set. During Alisa Mesa's (Long Beach, Calif.) five-point service run in the middle of the set, back-to-back Husky errors boosted the Pioneers to a 14-12 lead. SHU did not hold on long, however, as Pioneer errors allowed UCONN to tie and ultimately reclaim the lead. Sacred Heart battled to the end, getting within one point multiple times. Back-to-back kills by Kridel and Mercado brought the score to 24-23, but the Pioneers couldn't clinch the game as a ball-handling error gave the Huskies the set and match.

The Pioneers open conference play on Saturday against their Co-Northeast Conference Regular Season Champions, the Blackbird of LIU Brooklyn.