2017 Little East Offensive Player of the Year (Jess Williamson)

Southern Maine Volleyball Sweeps Keene State and Sage

Southern Maine Volleyball Sweeps Keene State and Sage

Southern Maine Sweeps Keene State and Sage Colleges

            GORHAM, Maine -- Sophomore Kacey Foerster (Scarborough, Maine) had a season-high 16 kills to lead the University of Southern Maine women's volleyball team to its first victory over Keene State College since 2003 with a thrilling 3-1 (25-22, 20-25, 25-21, 25-22) Little East Conference win Saturday afternoon at the Warren Hill Gymnasium.

            The Huskies came back in their second match to defeat The Sage Colleges 3-1 (25-13, 25-23, 21-25, 25-14) in a non-conference match.  The two wins improved the Huskies overall record to 12-5.  Keene State salvaged a split of its two matches defeating Sage in the middle match 3-1 (25-15, 25-8, 20-25, 25-16).  The Owls are 14-5 with the split and 2-1 in LEC play.  The Gators dipped to 4-12 overall.

            In the match against Keene, USM senior setter Nicole Schmitz (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham) became the third player to reach the 2,000-career assist plateau.  Schmitz had 29 assists against the Owls, and added another 37 against the Gators.  Schmitz finished with a double-double against Keene by also contributing 10 digs.

            USM rallied from six points down (18-12) in the first set to take the set against Keene State.  The Huskies won nine straight points to assume a 21-18 lead, then held off the Owls by splitting the next eight points.  The second set was a carbon copy of the first as USM trialed by eight (19-11), but the Owls held off a late Huskies' surge to take the set and even the match.

            In the pivotal third set, the Huskies used a mid-set run, keyed by the serving of Schmitz, to erase an Owls lead.  The Huskies never relinquished the lead over the remainder of the set to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

            The final set was one of momentum swings.  The Huskies jumped out quickly leading 6-2 before the Owls went on a 12-5 run to assume a 14-11 lead.  The set was tied 22-22 when Huskies took the lead for good on a kill from sophomore Jamie Jannarone (Windham, Maine).  Kills from rookie Alexis Dow (Miami, Fla.) and junior Megan Gettings (Bristol, Conn.) closed the match to give the Huskies their first win over the Owls since November 5, 2003.

            In addition to Foerster, Gettings finished with 12 kills while Dow chipped in with eight.  Sophomore Lauren Delissio (Hebron, Conn./RHAM) had 16 digs on the back line.

            Senior Niamh Dodd (Mahopac, N.Y.) led the Owls with 14 kills, and sophomore Megan Palmer (East Islip, N.Y.) had 10.  Sophomore Bailey Wilson (Moorpark, Calif.) orchestrated the Keene offense passing out 39 assists.  Senior Riley Bunker (Simi Valley, Calif.) led all players with 28 digs.

            In the nightcap, Dow, Jannarone and Gettings reached double figures in kills to lead the Huskies' offense.  Schmitz just missed another double-double passing out 37 assists and digging up nine balls.  Delissio had 20 digs.

            Freshman Emma Parkington (Dalton, Mass./Wahconah Regional) had a strong all-around match for the Gators knocking down a team-high nine kills while passing out 16 assists.  Junior Miranda Nethaway (Fonda, N.Y.) equaled Parkington with nine kills and had three blocks.  Junior Megan Ryder (Broadalbin, N.Y.) led all players with 30 digs.

            Southern Maine travels to Plymouth State University on Tuesday (6 p.m.) for a Little East Conference match.