DARTMOUTH, Mass. – Senior outside Adrianna Mihalek (Woodbury) had 13 kills and attacked at .290 and senior setter Fabiana Della-Monica (Newark, DE) had 11 assists and four service aces to lead the Eastern Connecticut State University women's volleyball team to a Little East Conference sweep of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Tuesday night at the Tripp Athletic Center. Set scores were 25-13, 25-16, 25-22.
Eastern (14-7, 2-2 LEC) won for the fifth time in the last six contests and improved its record away from home to 8-5. Struggling UMass (6-15, 0-4 LEC) dropped its tenth straight since opening its season with a 6-5 record. Eastern has now swept nine opponents and been swept only once, while UMass was beaten in three for the sixth straight time and for the eighth time during its ten-match losing streak.
With the second and third seeds hosting first-round LEC tournament matches, Eastern moved into a two-way tie for fourth place with the University of Southern Maine (the teams meet at Geissler Gymnasium Oct. 22). In addition to USM, Eastern has LEC matches remaining with Western Connecticut (1-3 LEC) and Keene State College (4-0).
All 15 roster players saw action for the Warriors, who attacked at .348 in winning the first two sets by an average of ten points.
Looking to close out the third set, Eastern trailed early and came from six points back to take its first lead late in the match and defeat UMass Dartmouth (6-15, 0-4 LEC) for the 41st time in this 44-match series. Eastern scored the final four points on a kill by Mihalek, a UMD ball-handling error, and service ace from Della-Monica and kill from 6-foot-1 inch junior middle Megan Macomber (South Windsor) off a set by Della-Monica. Looking for match point, Mihalek had three successive attacks dug up and played back over with free balls by the Corsairs until Rickey end things.
The Warriors outscored the Corsairs 10-2 to finish off the sweep after trailing by five, 20-15. Down by those five points, Eastern got kills from three different players – senior outside Hannah Bryant (Avon), Mihalek and junior middle Caryn Sibiskie (Rockville) to close to within two, 20-18.
Eastern never trailed in the first two sets. It used a run of five straight points to expand a four-point lead to nine, 13-4, in the opener, and ran off eight of the next nine points to snap the only tie of the second set and move out to an 11-4 lead.
In addition to her match-high kill total, Mihalek contributed three service aces and six digs and had a .952 reception percentage on 21 attempts en route to collecting a match-high 16 points. Sibiskie added five kills and a .273 attack percentage and senior defensive specialist Nina Zimmitti (East Hampton) and junior libero Michelle Valliere (Lebanon) each had sven digs.
Eastern visits Roger Williams University Saturday at1 p.m.