WESTON, Mass. – In front of a loud, supportive crowd present for the 2019 home opener, Regis College pulled out a 3-2 victory (24-26, 25-23, 25-22, 24-26, 17-15) over New England College Tuesday night in a non-conference women's collegiate volleyball match at Higgins Court.
Katryna Veasey (Quincy, Mass.) led the Pride with 17 kills and seven service aces, plus she notched her third double-double of the season with a season-high 16 digs and added nine total blocks. Lauren Butt (Topsfield, Mass.) finished with eight kills and 10 total blocks, and Rita Dow (Nashua, N.H.) added eight kills and five service aces. Karly Sanborn (Gilmanton, N.H.) nearly earned her own double-double with 22 assists and nine digs, Toni Ondris (Mineola, N.Y.) came off the bench and contributed seven service aces and seven digs, and Mica van der Meulen (Colorado Springs, Colo.) led all players with 26 digs.
After New England College won the fourth set to force a deciding fifth set, Regis took a 6-4 lead on a kill and two blocks by Veasey. The Pilgrims battled back, taking a 10-9 lead on a kill by Tihani Ehia, but Dow picked up a kill, a block assist, and a service ace to allow the Pride to regain the lead at 13-11.
Kills by Shirita Wimberly and Ehia brought about match point for NEC, but Veasey and Butt combined on a block to extend the match further. Another kill by Wimberly gave the Pilgrims a second chance at closing out the contest, but Butt picked up a solo block and a kill, and the Pride forced an attack error to earn the victory.
New England College (3-5) scored the first nine points of the match, including two kills by Ehia, before Regis put together a 13-2 scoring run to pull ahead midway through the set. Down 21-17 after a block by Butt, the Pilgrims battled back, closing out the set with a 9-3 scoring run, including kills by Ehia and Renee McBride-Rogers.
A kill and three consecutive service aces by Veasey put the Pride ahead in the second set, 9-5, but once again the Pilgrims responded, scoring six unanswered points later in the set, led by four kills from Wimberly. Down 22-19 after a rotation error, Regis won six of the final seven points of the set, capped by a kill from Dow.
The Pilgrims scored five straight points early in the third set, but consecutive blocks by Veasey and Butt helped the Pride score four unanswered points. The third set featured 15 ties and 11 lead changes, but Regis would prevail by collecting the final four points of the set, including consecutive service aces by Veasey and a kill from Butt.
The Pride scored the first five points of the fourth set, but NEC would battle back, scoring four straight points of its own to pull ahead, 13-12. Down 23-20 after a service ace by Dow, the Pilgrims scored six of the final seven points of the set, punctuated by a service ace from Riane Heyen.
Wimberly led the Pilgrims with 16 kills and 21 digs, while Ehia finished with 14 kills and eight digs. Maggie Dadmun also notched a double-double with 30 assists and 13 digs, while fellow setter Heyen added 16 assists, four service aces, and eight digs. Defensively, NEC totaled 94 digs, including 18 digs by libero Colby Ross and 17 digs by Jaycie Kodama.
The Pride earned the victory despite earning fewer kills than the Pilgrims (53-47) and hitting at a lower percentage (.113-.083). The home team enjoyed a significant advantage in the service game, earning 20 service aces, as well as defensively at the net with 14 team blocks.
Regis (2-3) heads to Bridgewater State to face the Bears Thursday, Sept. 12, starting at 6 p.m. New England College hosts Northern Vermont-Johnson and Westfield State Saturday, Sept. 14.