October 26, 2013

Pioneers Dominate St. Francis Brooklyn; Sweep Terriers 3-0

FAIRFIELD, CONN. (October 26, 2013)—Jene Lee (San Dimas, Calif.) led all players hitting .400 with 10 kills on 15 attempts with just four errors in the Sacred Heart women's volleyball team's three-set sweep of St. Francis Brooklyn Saturday evening in the William H. Pitt Center. Senior Dianis Mercado (Vega Baja, P.R.) tallied a match-leading 12 kills in the win that improved the Pioneers to 12-10 on the season and 6-2 in Northeast Conference play.

Junior Alisa Mesa (Long Beach, Calif.) recorded 39 assists on the night, and posted a .415 set percentage. Rookie libero Ana Gonzalez (Guaynabo, P.R.) led the match with 25 digs.

The first set was a back and forth battle with both teams exchanging the lead several times. After trading points early, the Pioneers went on to win seven of the next eight points to take a 5-9 lead. This run was created by the powerful jump serve of Mercado. St. Francis Brooklyn would answer back with a run of their own of six points to take a 15-13 lead midway through the opener. SHU fought to regain the lead with help from a kill by freshman middle blocker Lee, but three more Terrier points forced a Sacred Heart timeout at 18-14. SFC continued to score coming off the time out and were the first to reach 20 points. Another three-point service run from Mercado kept the Pioneers in the set. The Terriers used a timeout to try and slow the Sacred Heart comeback, but Sacred Heart did just enough to come away with set one 25-22.

The Pioneers looked more composed in the second set as they recorded 17 kills compared to just 12 in the opener. Junior Alissa Young (La Verne, Calif.) put together a nice set with five kills and one ace to lead Sacred Heart in points. The Pioneer offense bowled over the Terriers early taking a 12-6 lead. However St. Francis Brooklyn would not go away as they battled back to within two points several times at 13-11, 14-12, 15-13, and 18-16. Despite their efforts, the Terriers could not overtake the Pioneers as a balanced offense with contributions from freshman Sarah Krufka (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. ), Lee, and Young, helped SHU take a two set lead.

The third set saw lots of back and forth early as each side struggled to separate from the other. The Pioneers were the first to reach 10 points at 10-8, but could not pull away as several unforced serving and hitting errors kept the set close. These errors lead to an 11-11 tie before a Terrier kill gave them their second lead of the set. St. Francis Brooklyn struggled with their own unforced errors as the mid-part of the set was tied 11-11, 13-13, and 15-15. An ace from sophomore Katie Direnzo (Shelton, Conn.) and a kill by Krufka forced a Terrier timeout at 17-15. Following the timeout, the Pioneers continued to push the action as Direnzo rang up another ace to give the Pioneers a 19-15 lead. Strong defense combined with poor serve receive by the Terriers allowed SHU to gain a 23-16 lead and put the match almost out of reach. A thunderous kill by Lee gave the Pioneers their first match point, and a final kill by Mercado closed out the match at 25-19.

The Pioneers will face the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds tomorrow at 2:00pm in the William H. Pitt Center.