The Pioneer women's volleyball team made its way through some tense moments but ultimately came away with an 18th straight win with a 3-0 shutout of conference rival St. Francis (NY) Saturday afternoon in the Pitt Center. Johanna Ovsenek (London, Ontario) led SHU with 13 kills and a .400 hitting percentage as Sacred Heart also picks up a seventh consecutive sweep. The victory also moves the Pioneers to 12-0 at home and 23-1 in the last 24 matches.
Sacred Heart (23-4, 11-0 NEC) 8-3 cushion in the first set on a kill from Ashlyn Trimble (Temecula, CA). Trimble finished the afternoon with five kills and tied for a team-high with 14 digs. The Terriers came roaring back to win six straight points on the serve Anisa Lila and take their first lead of the match. The Pioneers had two set-points at 24-22 but a ball handling error coupled with a service ace knotted the frame at 24-24. SFNY would fight off four more set points, never earning one for their own, before a kill from Ovsenek gave SHU the 30-28 victory. Courtney Kidd-Kadlubek (Santa Barbara, CA) had a season high 19 assists int he first set as the Pioneers put in 22 kills to the Terriers 17.
St. Francis (NY) (7-18, 3-9 NEC) held the edge in the opening stages of the middle stanza and stretched the lead to 10-7 on one of Marina Georgieva match-high 17 kills. But the Pioneers rallied with five straight kills on the serve of Christina Bauch (Trabuco Canyon, CA) who provided a kill to cap off the run and force a Terrier timeout. St. Francis (NY) kept the action tight and leveled the score at 21-21 on a SHU miscue. Sacred Heart responded to the pressure with a kill from Elise Sage (Greenwood Village, CO) and forcing a pair of SFNY errors to make the tally 24-21. Two points later Sage pounded home another kill to end the threat of another Terrier comeback as SHU won the second set 25-22. Sage finished the afternoon with 12 kills and hit .402 to improve on her season mark that already leads the Northeast Conference.
The Terriers again dominated the start of the set and jumped out to an 8-4 advantage in the third. However, the Pioneers again showed poise to get back into the match and regained the lead at 11-10 on the strength of a Sage put away. The lead grew to 18-13 as the Pioneers relied on their two powerhouses in the middle, Ovsenek and Sage, to secure points. Sacred Heart rattled off three consecutive points to end the set, and the match, 25-18 in the third. Junior libero Jessica Colberg (Long Beach, CA) had a solid afternoon on the backline for SHU, recording 14 digs.
The Pioneers return to action tomorrow, for a third game in as many days, traveling to NEC rival Quinnipiac for a 2:00 pm contest.