BOSTON, Mass. - The Keene State College volleyball team picked up their fourth and fifth consecutive wins Saturday afternoon, defeating Worcester Polytechnic Institute 3-0 (29-27, 25-14, 25-19) and Wentworth Institute of Technology 3-2 (25-21, 26-24, 12-25, 21-25, 15-11) in a tri-match at Tansey Gymnasium on the campus of Wentworth.
- Keene State: 9-2
- WPI: 4-4
- Wentworth: 6-3
How It Happened - WPI
In the opener against the Engineers, the Owls held off a furious WPI comeback to take the first set in extra points before controlling the second and third sets to polish off the sweep. Ali McLoughlin paced KSC with 13 kills and 10 digs, while Megan Palmer had 12 digs and nine kills. Olivia Mathieu had a match-high 19 digs, while Bailey Wilson had 36 more assists, five kills and four digs. Amanda Wetmore had nine kills for WPI.
The opening set was back and forth early on, but the Engineers eventually nudged out to a 14-11 lead after scoring four of five points. Keene State answered quickly and forcefully, as McLoughlin had three kills to highlight a 9-0 Owl burst that resulted in a 20-14 lead. KSC remained in control, as kills from Hunt, McLoughlin and Palmer helped bring up set point at 24-16, but the Engineers generated a furious rally, blocking four KSC attempts while scoring eight straight to tie it. Maddie Sanborn's ace gave WPI a chance to steal the set, but her error on the next serve kept it going. Both teams then had a chance with set point and did not convert. The Owls finally pulled through, as kills by Palmer and McLoughlin put KSC up 1-0 in the match after a 29-27 victory in the opening frame.
The Owls were dominant in the second set, as they cruised to a 25-14 win after outhitting WPI .429 to .077. KSC was never threatened, as aces early on from Palmer and Elizabeth Johnson helped build a 9-2 advantage. The Engineers drew within four a few times thereafter, the last of which coming at 16-12. However, Keene State scored nine of the next 11 to take a commanding lead in the match. McLoughlin had four kills in that stretch, the last two of which made it 23-13. Kelly Hunt followed with a pair of points of her own to send the match to the third set with KSC up 2-0.
Keene State weathered a WPI surge to polish off a victory. The Owls opened the third frame similar to how they did in the second, scoring nine of the opening 12 points. It was still a six-point difference after Wilson set up Palmer to make it 13-7, and McLoughlin's kill later made it 17-11. The Engineers did not go away, as they drew within one after a 6-1 spurt, but KSC immediately answered, closing the match with a 7-2 run. A block from Elizabeth Johnson on Wetmore's attack gave the Owls a 24-18 lead, and she followed the block with a kill to end the match. Keene State outhit WPI .225 to .115.
How It Happened - Wentworth
In a hard fought battle in the day's second match against a Wentworth team that went 25-5 last season, the Owls rallied in a decisive fifth set to win their fifth straight. McLoughlin had 15 more kills, while Palmer had a double-double of 14 digs and 12 kills. Wilson finished with 43 assists, 15 digs and six kills. Wentworth was paced by Claire Quick's 27 digs and 18 kills.
As the score would indicate, the teams traded blows throughout. Kills from Hunt and Palmer helped the Owls inch out to a 12-9 lead in the opening set, which later extended to 16-11, but the Leopards came back to lead 19-18. Another point from Palmer put KSC back ahead and, later, another kill from her as well as McLoughlin's ace made it a 24-20 Owl lead. Samantha Lassiter's service error gave Keene State the set. The second frame was very similar, as the teams split the first 18 points. McLoughlin, Palmer and Emilyann Ashford each had kills in a four point span to help KSC gain a slight bit of separation at 15-11, but Wentworth tied it with an 8-4 run. Kills by Johnson and McLoughlin brought up set point for the Owls, but the Leopards answered with two points of their own to force extra points. Jordan Chapman's error gave KSC another chance to go up 2-0, and the visitors capitalized with Wilson's ace.
The Leopards were dominant in the third set, avoiding losing in straight sets after racking up 17 kills and a .400 attack percentage in a 25-12 win, and the hosts also controlled the fourth set after an early 7-0 run helped them out to a 14-7 lead. KSC momentarily drew within one (21-20), but could get no closer as Wentworth scored four of the next five to tie the match at two. The Owls appeared as though they might have been in trouble in the deciding fifth set, as the home team never trailed in an opening 8-5 run. However, KSC closed the day with a flurry, scoring four straight, culminating with a McLoughlin kill for a one-point edge. A kill and an ace from Wentworth put them back ahead once more at 11-10, but that proved to be their final lead, as Keene State scored the final five points. McLoughlin and Ashford combined for three kills down the stretch to bring up match point, and Ashford and Hunt blocked Quick to extend KSC's win streak.
- The Owls, who entered the day ninth nationally in team digs, recorded 156 more, including a season-high 96 in the match against Wentworth. KSC was also 19th in team kills before today's matches.
- KSC improved to 1-2 against WPI. Their match against Wentworth was the first all-time meeting.
- Keene State returns home to host Emmanuel College on Tuesday, September 17 at 7:00 pm.
- WPI visits No. 20 Babson College in NEWMAC action on the same night and time.
- Wentworth hosts Roger Williams University for a CCC matchup at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, September 18.