Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – The Elms College volleyball team charged to a 2-0 lead over visiting MCLA, but the Trailblazers battled back to take the final three sets, defeating the Blazers, 3-2 (25-16, 25-15, 22-25, 21-25, 9-15), at the Maguire Center Thursday night.
The Blazers grabbed a 25-16 victory in the first set, powered by four kills from freshman middle hitter Lindsay McNiff. Elms extended their lead to 2-0 with a 25-15 win in set two behind four kills from junior middle hitter Christine Searless (Tolland, Mass.). The Trailblazers raced to an early 6-0 lead in the third set, but Elms rallied from a 23-11 deficit to make it 24-22, before a kill from sophomore Sam Anderson gave MCLA a 25-22 win. In the fourth set, the team exchanged the lead three times, finding themselves tied at 21-21 until MCLA rattled off four consecutive points to close the set. During the final set, the squad tied three times at 3-3, 5-5, and 9-9, but the Trailblazers used a string of six straight points to take the 3-2 win.
Searless led the Blazers offensively with a game-high 14 kills, along with 10 digs for her second consecutive double-double. Sophomore outside hitter Alexandra Mack (Wilbraham, Mass.) added seven kills with 11 digs, while McNiff tallied six kills and two blocks. Junior setter Shannon Bolton (Shelton, Mass.) dished out a team-high 23 assists, and junior libero Caitlin Garvey (Greenfield, Mass.) snared a game-high 27 digs.
MCLA had four players with eight or more kills, led by freshman middle hitter Margaret Allen with a team-high 11 kills, two service aces, and two blocks. Anderson had nine kills with eight digs, while junior right side Courtney Parent and sophomore middle hitter Rachel Mills each recorded eight kills. Parent added 13 digs, while junior right side Jackie Paluilis registered a team-high 16 digs in the win.
The Blazers drop to 1-11 overall, while MCLA improves to 6-3 on the season. Elms will look to return to the win column against Pine Manor at the Maguire Center Thursday, September 25th. Game time is set for 6:00 p.m.