September 29, 2012

Pioneers Battle Bulldogs in a 3-1 Victory

Fairfield, Conn.—Five Pioneers had 11 or more kills, while three hit over .409 in the 3-1 win over the Bryant Bulldogs. Alissa Young (La Verne, Calif.) led the way with 17 kills as the Sacred Heart Women's Volleyball team cruised to their second Northeast Conference victory. With the win, the Pioneers go to 4-13 on the season and 2-1 in conference play.

The Bulldog thrived in the first set, coming out of the gate to a 5-1 lead, leaving the Pioneers to play catch up. However, Sacred Heart never managed to close the gap and Bryant went on to win their only set of the match 25-19. The bright spot for SHU was rookie Allison Riggs (Anaheim, Calif.) who hit .556 and led the Pioneers with five kills in the set, on her way to a career-high 11-kill match.

Sacred Heart turned it around in the second set, as a team hit a dominating .452 with 22 kills. The Pioneers jumped out to an early lead on Young's four-point service run 4-2. The slight lead was all SHU needed as the Bulldogs never got closer than those two points. Sacred Heart's lead continued to grow with good serves by Riggs and kills by Young with the Bryant's point coming on a SHU ball handling error. Back-to-back kills by Young forced the Bulldogs to take a time out at 11-6 in an attempt to slow down the surging Pioneers. It did not work as Sacred Heart cruised to the 25-16 victory to even the match.  Senior Elise Sage (Greenwood Village, Colo.) hit .750 in the match, recording three kills on four attempts.

Bryant started off well, getting the lead early and only allowing Sacred Heart to tie the game. But with the score tied at eight, Sage sent a kill straight down sending Megan Pulone (Diamond Bar, Calif.) to the service line. After a service ace on her second serve, once again, the Bulldogs saw the Pioneers taking off again and called a time out. The break did not shake Pulone as she continued her run with four more serves giving SHU a 14-8 lead. Sacred Heart never let up the lead and with the score at 21-17, Young notched a kill, her fifth of the set, to kick off the 4-1 run that clinched the set 25-18 for the Pioneers.

Alisa Mesa (Long Beach, Calif.) kicked off the fourth set with a four-point service run to give the Pioneers an early lead that they would never relinquish. Bryant did tie the score at five on Alexandria Clyburn's kill, but could never get above SHU. Both of Sacred Heart's middle blockers, Sage and Johanna Ovsenek (London, On.), led the team hitting .600 and .556 respectively in the 25-20 win that finalized the win for the Pioneers.

Sacred Heart returns home tomorrow for to take on the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights at 2:00 p.m.