Seniors Lead Mountaineers to Pair of 3-0 Victories

Seniors with family, friends, and teammates
Seniors with family, friends, and teammates

BENNINGTON, Vt.- Southern Vermont College recognized it's three tremendous seniors, Tasha Smith, Joanna Hogue, and Hershey Canta Saturday afternoon at the Mountaineer Athletic Center. Canta and Hogue who are seniors have had a major impact to the Mountaineers two year turnaround; in which the program has gone from 1-21 in 2009 to 27-2 in 2011.

"It is a surreal feeling from where we have been to where we are," said Smith, who has been at SVC for all four seasons.

All three seniors will leave Southern Vermont with a record in hands. Smith is SVC's All-Time leader in career blocks, while Hogue is the leader in Digs for a single season and career. Canta is the single season leader for assists and on the verge of being the career leader. After Saturday's match she is just 86 assists away.

"Today is a great day in SVC Volleyball, and at the same time a very sad day. Tasha, Hershey, and Joanna should be proud of where they helped take this program, and continue to take it," said Head Coach Josh Stokes. "Each of them will be missed tremendously."

In the contests, SVC swept a double header against Mitchell College 3-0, 3-0. The first of the two matches was a New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) match, while the second counted as a non-conference match.

In match one Southern Vermont won by scores of 25-10, 25-7, and 25-17. In match two the Mountaineers won 25-13, 25-16, and 25-20. With Saturday's six set wins, SVC has now won 39 consecutive sets, which is tied for the 11th longest streak in NCAA history. The Mountaineers have also won 18 straight matches.

"We have to give a lot of credit to Coach Stokes. When he recruited me he told me that each year we were going to get better, he is staying true to his word," said Stokes' first SVC recruit, Hogue. "However, I never expected it to be this good."

In the first match Jessica Alvarez and Alicia Manzo went for double digit kills. Alvarez smacked 13 and Manzo contributed 11 in the victory. However, it was the seniors who led the Mountaineers, as Canta led the way with 32 assists and Hogue had 11 digs. Smith also had two blocks along side of Manzo's five block assists.

Mariners Arianna Thomas had 10 digs in the defeat. Gloria Charles hit for a .444 hitting percentage as she connected on four kills in nine attempts.

In the second match Alvarez led the way again with 15 kills. This time Hogue did the setting as she finished with 27 assists and Canta connected on eight kills. Manzo and Cindyline Sevilla led the serving game for SVC. Manzo had four service aces and Sevilla had three.

Mitchell challenged the Mountaineers in all three sets of the second match, mainly because of a solid defensive effort. Nicole Terni had 17 digs in the defeat, while Kendra Erskine had two block assists. Marie Connelly set the offense with 10 assists.

Southern Vermont has two regular season games remaining, as they travel to Bay Path Wednesday and then to Daniel Webster next Saturday. The Mountaineers need one win in order to clinch home court advantage throughout the NECC tournament.  Mitchell drops to 6-10 with the pair of losses and 1-6 in the NECC.

"We never get a head of ourselves," said Canta. "We play every game like our record is 0-0."