BIDDEFORD, ME – Saint Joseph's (5-2) suffered a hard-fought loss to University of New England (5-2), 3-2 (26-24, 22-25, 20-25, 25-16, 9-15) in a non-conference women's volleyball match on Thursday evening. Senior Sarah Hawkes (Pownal, Maine) recorded 17 digs and 16 digs in the setback.
The Nor'easters fell behind 17-10 in the first set, but rallied to gain a 21-19 edge. The next six points were exchanged in pairs to even things up at 23-23, and following a winner by the Nor'easters, a kill, a block, and an attack error on UNE gave the last three points to Saint Joseph's for a narrow victory.
Big Blue gained separation late in the second to make it a set-all, and used a 10-1 run early in the third frame en route to taking the 2-1 nod on the scoreboard.
The fourth was knotted at 9-9 before a Monks' 5-0 spurt gave the visitors the advantage. Though UNE claimed the next two points, Saint Joseph's closed with 11 of the last 16 to force a fifth and deciding set. The Nor'easters never trailed in the last one.
For the Monks, first-year Felicia Wachowiak (Milton, N.H.) totaled 19 kills while junior Holly Bannister (Cumberland, Maine) added seven kills and junior Erica Russi (Debary, Fla.) contributed 15 digs on the evening. Senior setter Kiah Begley (Berwick, Maine/St. Thomas Aquinas) broke the program's single-game assists record with 48 helpers and added 11 digs in a losing effort.
The combined kills posted by the duo of Hawkes and Wachowiak is the most recorded by an SJC pairing since Hawkes (22) and Caitlin Cleary (18) belted 40 kills in a 3-2 loss to Lasell College on October 3rd, 2009.
For the Nor'easters, senior Paige Curran (Chelmsford, Mass.) and junior Angie Brunette (North Andover, Mass.) each notched 15 kills and combined to earn UNE six points off blocks. Curran also had four service aces on the night.
Junior Maria Keuhl (Middleton, N.H.) posted a double-double with 47 assists and 12 digs, and classmate Kirsta Adie (Tyngsboro, Mass.) dug out 11 balls while cleanly receiving all 20 of the serves that came her way.
Big Blue sophomore Leah Janelle (Madbury, N.H.) came off the bench to contribute 11 kills and eight digs to the winning cause.
With the loss, Saint Joseph's falls to 3-40 since the beginning of the 1991 season versus UNE. The Nor'easters have now defeated the Monks in 24 consecutive meetings dating back to the 1998 campaign.
For the Monks, the loss is certainly difficult to swallow but the team can take some solace in the fact that St. Joe's had not taken two sets from UNE in 11 years prior to this evening. A rapidly-improving program under the watch of third-year Head Coach Yamile Nolan, the Monks will look to turn the tables on the Nor'easters when they come to Standish for a 6:00 PM tilt versus SJC on October 22nd.
Both teams start conference play with home contests this Saturday, as the Monks host a tri-match with GNAC-foe Anna Maria College (11:00 AM) and non-conference opponent Framingham State (3:00 PM), while UNE faces Western New England (1:00 PM) that day.
MAJOR CONTRIBUTIONS PROVIDED BY UNE SPORTS INFORMATION
Saint Joseph's College, founded in 1912 by the Sisters of Mercy, celebrates its Centennial year in 2012 with a theme of "Realize the Promise" – honoring our commitment to educating well-rounded graduates who combine career focus with classic liberal arts studies. A Private, Catholic, primarily residential, coeducational liberal arts institution, Saint Joseph's welcomes students of all ages and all faiths. The campus, located 18 miles northwest of Portland and just two hours from Boston, encompasses 350 acres along the shore of beautiful Sebago Lake in Standish, Maine. Enrollment ranges between 1,000 and 1,100 students annually. Saint Joseph's offers challenging academic programs in the liberal arts and sciences, education, nursing and business fields in a value-centered environment.