WESTON, Mass. – The Regis College women's volleyball team rallied from a 2-0 match deficit, winning the third and fourth sets to force a deciding fifth set, but Eastern Connecticut State was able to take the early lead on its way to a 15-6 set win, clinching the match 3-2 (25-14, 25-7, 21-25, 23-25, 15-6) Friday night in a non-conference collegiate match at Higgins Court.
Katryna Veasey (Quincy, Mass.) led the Pride with 14 kills, 22 digs, and three total blocks, while Lauren Butt (Topsfield, Mass.) finished with seven kills on a .545 hitting percentage to go along with three block assists of her own. Setters Mica van der Meulen (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Tori Ondris (Mineola, N.Y.) collected 18 assists apiece, and Caroline Fuentes (Downey, Calif.) earned 17 defensive digs from the libero position.
After losing the first two sets, Regis fell behind in the third set 15-11 before starting its rally, scoring eight straight points on the serve of Jordan Sterenberg (Oceanside, N.Y.) to bring about set point at 24-19. Eastern Connecticut State won the next two points but committed a service error to give the Pride the third-set victory.
Eastern Connecticut State (1-0) took a three-point lead midway through the fourth set before Regis scored four unanswered points, the last on a block by Rachel Bartels (Edinburg, Texas) and MacKenzie Emco (Sutton, Mass.), to pull ahead 15-14. The Warriors retook the lead at 21-19, but the Pride closed out the fourth set with a 6-2 scoring run, capped by a kill from Bartels, to tie the match at two sets apiece.
Three straight service aces by Abby Stern allowed the Warriors to pull ahead in the deciding set, 8-3. The Pride attempted to keep the set close thanks to kills by Emco and Sterenberg, but Eastern Connecticut State took advantage of a couple of Regis errors down the stretch to clinch the season-opening match.
Alaetra Long led the Warriors with 13 kills, plus she earned four service aces and 13 digs, while Stern notched a double-double with 10 kills and 17 digs to go along with four aces of her own. In total, Eastern Connecticut State finished with 20 service aces, led by nine aces by Carly Balskus, while it committed only seven service errors.
The Warriors jumped right out at the start of the match, winning eight of the first nine points of the contest. The visitors kept Regis at arm's length throughout the opening set, eventually winning it on two kills by Long. Led by six aces by Balskus, Eastern Connecticut State won 15 consecutive points to cruise to the second set victory.
Eastern Connecticut State jumps right back into action Saturday, Sept. 1, participating in a tri-match at Mitchell where it will face the host at 12 noon and Nichols in a neutral-site match at 4 p.m.
Regis (0-1) will play its next five matches away from home, starting Wednesday, Sept. 5, at Curry College beginning at 6 p.m. The Pride return to Higgins Court to open the GNAC schedule against Rivier Thursday, Sept. 13, starting at 7 p.m.