Volleyball Team Effort Ensures Sweep of Western Connecticut and Keene State

Victoria Nassar

Keene, NH --- Senior Brooke Klepper (Miami Beach, FL) had 10 kills against Western Connecticut as junior Casey Hunt (Granby, CT), and the freshman duo of Sarah Kwatinetz (Seattle, WA) and Amanda Wetmore (Hudson, NH), totaled 42 digs against Keene State as Volleyball won a pair of non-conference matches Saturday afternoon in Spaulding Gym.

The Engineers cruised past the Colonials 25-15, 25-14, 25-12 before a 25-21, 25-18, 20-25 23-25, 15-13 triumph over the host Owls, who suffered their first home setback of the campaign.

WPI vs Keene State

The Owls got 20 kills from senior Rachel Lamica (Malone, NY), along with 12 from freshman Megan Palmer (East Islip, NY) and six from sophomore Olivia Mathieu (Derry, NH). Freshman Bailey Wilson (Moorpark, CA) had 41 assists, while four players reached double-digit digs, starting with junior Riley Bunker's (Simi Valley, CA) 24. Sophomore Kait West (Hopkinton, MA) and Mathieu both had 14, and Wilson had 13. Junior Niamh Dodd (Mahopac, NY) led another strong effort at the net with five solo blocks and a block assist. 

The Engineers opened up a 9-3 lead in the opening set, with two kills from senior Melissa Daigle (Norfolk, MA) and an ace from junior Victoria Nassar (Salem, NH).  Three straight points for the Owls pulled KSC within 13-11, and Dodd's block gave Keene State its first lead at 15-14. Sophomore Jennifer Severino (Galloway, NJ) soared for a kill that gave the Owls a 19-17 lead but the Engineers scored eight of the final 10 points, including the final four for a 25-21 win.

WPI took a 6-3 lead in the early going of the second set, but the Owls rallied to tie it at 10 on Lamica's kill.  The Owls never could get in front in the set, as WPI went up 17-14 on a kill by Hunt and 21-17 on a KSC error.  WPI netted four of the final five points, including a kill from Wetmore, to end the set.

The rally caps came on for Keene State in the third set, as Palmer had a kill that made it 7-4, and kills from Palmer and Lamica extended the lead to 13-9.  WPI came back to take a 17-16 lead, but Keene State netted the next seven points, taking a 23-17 lead as WPI committed two straight errors.  The Engineers scored the next three points, but Lamica kept the Owls in the set with two straight kills that ended the frame.

Keene State kept up the momentum in the fourth set, taking a 6-2 lead as Lamica and Severino blocked the Engineers, before WPI embarked on an 8-1 run to take an 11-7 lead.  The Engineer advantage kept growing, to 16-10, before three straight points from the Owls made it 16-13.  The lead stayed at three at 20-17 before Keene State netted five points in a row, going up 22-20 on a miscue at the net.  WPI scored the next two to tie the set again and the team's traded points one last time before Mathieu's kill put it at set point and Dodd blocked Hunt to hand the set to the Owls.

WPI took a 4-2 lead in the fifth and final set, only to see Keene State take an 8-5 lead on kills from Palmer and Lamica.  The Engineers tied it at eight before the Owls scored three straight points from an 11-8 lead.  WPI came back again, tying it at 11 on a kill from Wetmore.  After the teams traded points, Keene State took a 13-12 lead on a kill by Dodd, but the Engineers scored the final three points of the set to take the match.

Hunt totaled 16 swipes and 13 digs as Kwatinetz added 14 kills and Wetmore chipped in with 12. Junior Azita Bakhtyari (Andover, MA) doled out 59 of 63 assists and pushed up 10 digs. Nassar tallied 25 digs as seniors Ann Kaczowka (Seekonk, MA) and Kelly Rathje (Scituate, MA) registered 13 each. Sophomore Colleen Mullins (Andover, MA) also saw action in all five sets, adding three digs to the cause.

WPI vs Western Connecticut

Klepper was the only Engineer with double-digit swings while Bakhtyari added 22 assists, Hunt had 15 digs and Nassar recorded 10 digs. Sophomore Abbie Gilbert (Hopkinton, MA) tallied a pair of kills and senior Kat Hurlock (Burlington, CT) posted four kills and two digs.

Western Connecticut was led by junior Kamari King (East Hartford, CT) with 11 kills. Junior Jenna Skeritt (Wolcott, CT) handled 22 of 23 assists and junior Jenna Pisano (Orange, CT) accumulated 10 digs.

Already ahead 15-7 in the first set, Mullins served up six points that included three swipes by Klepper. WPI enjoyed a 4-0 run to open the middle set and went on to take a 10-2 lead. Bakhtyari served up a pair of aces to get the third off to a good start. The Colonials cut it to 5-4; however the Boynton Hillers went on a 6-1 run to pull away for good.

The Engineers (8-12) travel to Endicott Saturday for a noon match with the Gulls and a 2pm match with Tufts. The Owls (17-3) hit the road Tuesday for a 7pm meeting at Colby-Sawyer and .the Colonials (4-16) trek to Rhode Island College Tuesday for a 7pm first serve.

Portions Release Courtesy Keene State