BROOKLINE, Mass. – The Southern Vermont College women's volleyball team remains perfect in New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) play with a 3-0 win at Newbury on Saturday. The Mountaineers also knocked off Clark University, 3-1, at Newbury's tri-match.
SVC defeated the hosting Nighthawks with game scores of 25-10, 25-18, and 25-14. Against the Clark Cougars, the Mountaineers won the first two sets, 25-19 and 25-12. Clark took the third game, 25-21, and then Southern Vermont finished the match with a 25-23 set win.
In the day's finale, the Cougars took down Newbury, 3-1, with game scores of 21-25, 29-27, 25-18, and 25-19.
The Mountaineers move to 6-0 in the conference (19-3 overall), while the two losses bring Newbury to 11-16 overall (5-2 NECC). The day's split brings Clark's record to 9-13; the Cougars are still 1-6 in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference.
Against the conference-leading Mountaineers, the Nighthawks held their ground in the early in the first set. First year middle hitter Taylor Doolittle (Barneveld, N.Y.) recorded back-to-back block assists, going up with sophomore right side hitter Lauren Watson (Denver, Colo.), including one against reigning NECC Player of the Year senior outside hitter Jessica Alvarez (Los Angeles, Calif.).
However, it was not enough to stop the Southern Vermont prodigious offensive duo of Alvarez and fellow senior middle hitter Danielle Healis (Escondido, Calif.), who jumped out in front 1-0, taking the first set by a score of 25-10. Healis was automatic on the court in the victory notching a match-high nine kills on 15 attempts with just one error for an impressive .533 attack percentage.
The Nighthawks battled back in the second set, but midway through the set first year setter Sheilani Kaleopa (Riverside, Calif.) registered three-straight service aces to take an 18-11 lead. And the Mountaineers did not look back.
In the third and final set, Alvarez closed out the match from the service line with three-straight aces to finish tied with Kaleopa with a match-high six while being two kills shy of her eighth double-double of season tallying eight kills with 11 digs.
In the second match of the day, Southern Vermont took a commanding two game lead over Clark after decisive victories in sets one and two, 25-19 and 25-12, respectively. But the Cougars mounted a comeback and forced a fourth set behind first year outside hitter Shannon Glass-Smythe (Albuquerque, N.M.), who finished the day with a team-high nine kills, seven digs and three aces.
Clark kept the game close in the fourth set but they were no match for Alvarez and Healis who remained red-hot offensively.
Against Clark in the day's final math, the Nighthawks jumped out to the 1-0 advantage, taking the first set, 25-21 but momentum changed addresses when the Cougars edged out a grinding back-and-forth battle in set two, 29-27. Clark never turned around and put their foot on the accelerator, taking the next two sets, 25-18 and 25-19, respectively.
Glass-Smythe paved the way to the Cougars' ninth victory of the season, recording a double-double by notching a match-high 17 kills with 11 digs. Junior setter Rachel Spera (North Hollywood, Calif.) and sophomore outside hitter Mel Conde (Union City, Calif.) followed up with six.
Doolittle kept Newbury in the contest for the majority of the match, surpassing her previous single match-high in block assists, notching five while chipping in six kills. Touron led the Nighthawks with a team-high 14 kills to finish with 20 on the afternoon while sophomore middle hitter Sydney Fish (Kalamazoo, Mich.) followed up with seven of her own.
The Mountaineers can wrap up the No. 1 seed in the NECC playoffs with a win at Elms College on Wednesday, the match being slated to begin at 7 p.m. Newbury hosts Mount Ida College at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, and Clark returns to conference play with a 7 p.m. home match on Tuesday against Wheaton (Mass.).