BENNINGTON, Vt. – For the second-straight year, Southern Vermont College began its run in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) women's volleyball postseason tournament with a 3-0 win over Bay Path University as the team swept the visiting Wildcats Tuesday night in a quarterfinal match at the Mountaineer Athletic Center.
SVC was able to stay ahead to close out the first set by a 25-20 margin, and the Mountaineer then really got things clicking to win the next two frames 25-10 and 25-12.
Southern Vermont improves to 19-6 on the year and now gets ready to, once again, take on Elms College in the semifinals. The Mountaineers fell 3-2 to the Blazers in a hard-fought semi a year ago. SVC and second-seeded Elms will line up Friday night at 7 p.m. Bay Path finishes the year at 7-14 overall.
"We took care of business against Bay Path tonight and have our eyes set on Elms Friday," said SVC second-year head coach Pat Robidoux. "Obviously, we haven't had a ton of success against Elms in recent history—dropping all of our past three matches against them. It will take a gritty team effort and a strong performance to win against the defending champions. This is our most exciting match of the year, and I am looking forward to seeing how it plays out."
With Tuesday's win, the Mountaineers have now won four-straight meetings with the Wildcats and 11 of their last 13.
SVC junior Meg Maddalena (Portola, Calif.) led all players with 10 kills while classmate Sarah Baty (Portola, Calif.) tallied 19 assists, nine digs, and six kills. Senior captain Liv Sowles (Sacramento, Calif.) had seven aces to go along with her three kills and three digs, and classmate Heidy Benitez (Tulare, Calif.) notched a team-leading nine digs on the night.
Bay Path was paced offensively by freshman Lydia Clifford (Coventry, R.I.) who had six kills in addition to recording six digs on the defensive side. Junior libero Joanne Nazario (Springfield, Mass.) had a match-best 11 digs while senior Lexi Cears (Agawam, Mass.) posted 13 assists, five digs, and two kills.
Southern Vermont jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the first set with a pair of Baty aces and two kills from junior Abby Landon (South Glens Falls, N.Y.). The two sides traded 4-0 runs before a Clifford kill eventually made it a 19-15 SVC edge. The Mountaineers used kills from Baty, Maddalena, and junior Taryn Higareda (Rosemead, Calif.) to go on top 24-17, and Higareda then finally put it away with one more swing.
SVC went on top 7-2 once again in the second game and—this time—never looked back. Sowles had three aces during a stretch of seven unanswered points which put the separation into double digits, and the Mountaineers closed out the set with another 7-2 run.
Cears and freshman Jessica Warren (Becket, Mass.) each served up an ace to give Bay Path an early 3-1 upper hand in the third, but Southern Vermont came storming back and won 11 of the next 12 behind three Maddalena kills. The Mountaineers never gave BPU a chance to get back in it and finished the night on a 5-0 run backed by three-straight Sowles aces.
– #LetsGoSVC –