Sacred Heart Closes In On Regular Season Title with Saturday Sweep

Sophomore Dianis Mercado

Loretto, PA – The SHU women's volleyball team registered a 3-0 victory over Saint Francis (PA) Saturday night to move them within one match of clinching a share of the Northeast Conference regular season championship.  Kimmee Roleder (Pasadena, CA), Johanna Ovsenek (London, Ontario), and Elsie Sage (Greenwood Village, CO) all recorded double-digit kills.  The Pioneers finished the match with a .315 hitting percentage while holding the Red Flash to a .011 mark.

Sacred Heart (24-7, 13-2 NEC) finished the first set with a 12-4 surge that closed out the Pioneers opening frame rout, 25-14.  Sage tallied four kills on four swings in the set as the junior finished the afternoon with 10 kills while swinging at a .529 clip.  Alissa Young (La Verne, CA) also tallied two blocks in the game as SHU forced the home team to a -.226 hitting percentage.

Saint Francis (PA) (9-21, 4-11 NEC) closed an early 6-2 Sacred Heart lead to just one at 11-10 following a Pioneer service error.  The Pioneers then claimed seven of the next eight points to rebuild its advantage to 18-11.  Roleder added six of her match high 13 kills in the set as SHU posted 14 kills and a .312 hitting percentage.  Alisa Mesa (Long Beach, CA) dished out 13 of her 38 assists of the day as the freshman continues her solid season.  Back-to-back Red Flash errors closed the set, 25-19, in favor of Sacred Heart.

The third set was a back and forth affair as the Pioneers closed an early deficit and earned a two point advantage at 16-14 following a service ace from Roleder and a kill from Dianis Mercado (Vega Baja, Puerto Rico).  Mercado, Roleder, Sage, and Ovsenek all ripped four kills in the third set as the Pioneers claimed the match, 3-0, with a 25-21 triumph.  The final point came on a SFU service error as Sacred Heart moved its winning streak to six matches.

The Pioneers return to action tomorrow at Robert Morris with a win securing at least a share of a second straight NEC regular season crown.  If Long Island University also wins tomorrow the site of the Northeast Conference tournament will be decided by a coin flip.