November 2, 2013

Pioneers Roll Past FDU 3-1; Clinch Spot in NEC Tournament

FAIRFIELD, CONN. (November 2, 2013)—The Sacred Heart women's volleyball team defeated Fairleigh Dickinson University in four sets Saturday night in the William H. Pitt Center. Allison Riggs (Anaheim, Calif.) led the match with 18 kills as SHU improves to 13-12 on the season and 7-3 in conference play.

Riggs, who hit .640, was just one of four Pioneers to tally double-digit kills. Senior Dianis Mercado (Vega Baja, P.R.), who posted her eleventh double-double of the season, racked up 16 kills, Jene Lee (San Dimas, Calif.) recorded 12 and Sarah Krufka (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) posted 10.

The opening set of the evening was a back-and-forth thriller with Sacred Heart leading for much of the set. The teams traded points early on with the score tied seven times in the first half. At 12-13, the Pioneers began to pull away with the help of a three-point service run, including one ace, from Mercado, as well as three service points with two aces from freshman Jenna Hoffman (Rockaway Beach, N.Y.). With a six-point lead the set looked all but over, however a slew of Pioneer errors opened the door for the Knights to tie the match at 22-22. A kill from sophomore Karly Shockey (Chino Hills, Calif.) gave SHU its first chance to serve for the set at 24-23. FDU would fight off the set point and earn its own at 25-24 before a Pioneer error ended the set 26-24. 

The Knights looked to be at it again in the second set, taking the first three points, but the Pioneers regained composure and began digging their way out of the hole. SHU combined a kill from Krufka and two FDU errors to take a 9-8 lead and force the Knights to call a timeout. The break didn't strop the Pioneers' roll, as they tacked on another three points, including back-to-back service aces by Shockey, who led the match with five. After allowing the Knights just one point, SHU was back at it, and added five points on the strong serving of Hoffman to lead 17-9. A kill by Krufka, who led the set with five kills, ultimately ended the set 25-18, evening the match at a set a piece.

Fairleigh Dickinson had a slight advantage through the start of the third set, but the Pioneers, who are no strangers to coming from behind, combined kills from Lee and Krufka to tie the score at 15, and a FDU attack error gave SHU the lead. The teams exchanged points both racing towards the finish line. With the score knotted at 20, a kill from Mercado and a Knight hitting error gave Sacred Heart the two-point lead it needed to win the set 25-22. Riggs hit .625 and led the set with six kills. Lee went four-for-six with one error to hit .500, while Krufka recorded and errorless set going four-for-nine.

The Pioneers seemed to have the fourth set in the bag from the start, leading throughout the majority of the match. With SHU on match point, 24-17, it was FDU's turn to make a comeback. The Knights posted nine consecutive points, six of which were SHU errors, to take a 25-24 lead forcing extra points. The never-say-die Pioneers bounced back with an FDU attack error sparking a three-point run, featuring a kill from Mercado and an ace by Hoffman, to with the set 27-5.

Sacred Heart is back in action Tuesday night at Stony Brook for their last non-conference match of the season. The Pioneers fell to the Seawolves in the season-opener 3-1.