WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Senior setter Mckenzie Maneggia (Andover) served the first 11 points of the crucial third set and the Eastern Connecticut State University women's volleyball team went on to a four-set non-conference victory over Western New England University Wednesday evening at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium. Set scores were 25-15, 19-25, 25-13, 25-18.
Eastern (4-4) ends a four-match losing streak with its fifth win over Western New England (5-7) in the last six matches in the series.
After giving away the second set with an .031 attack percentage, Eastern took a 2-1 lead in the match when Maneggia served the first 11 points. Juniors Alaetra Long (Lincoln, NE), Abby Stern (Manchester), and Emma Drolet (Riverside, RI) and sophomore Anna Barry (Andover) all contributed at least one kill in that scoring run, Maneggia served two consecutive aces, and WNEU committed three attack errors.
Leading 2-sets-to-1, Eastern jumped quickly again in the fourth set -- this time Long serving the first four points. Eastern built a quick 10-2 lead before the Golden Bears threated to force a deciding fifth set. The visitors chipped away at the Eastern lead, finally pulling to within four, 19-15. At that point, freshman setter Abby Fletcher (Fenton, MI) set Long and Barry for kills and a WNEU attack error with Eastern freshman Nayeli Cruz Martinez (Toa Baja, P.R.) serving restored a seven-point, 22-15 lead.
Stern led all players with 18 kills on a .245 attack percentage, while Barry added 17 kills on a .519 attack percentage. Maneggia had 25 assists, 20 digs, and five service aces, Long 13 digs, senior Sierra Orr (Woodland, WA) 12 assists, and sophomore libero Meg Verizzi (Lebanon) served 20 balls without an error and chipped in seven assists and eight digs. Stern committed only one reception error on 30 attempts.
Eastern opens defense of its Little East Conference regular-season title when it visits Massachusetts Dartmouth Friday at 7 p.m.