October 13, 2013

Pioneers Triumph Over Terriers 3-0

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (October 13, 2013)—Dianis Mercado (Vega Baja, Puerto Rico) led the all players with 16 kills, and was one of three Pioneers to reach double digit kills—Allison Riggs (Anaheim, Calif.) and Sarah Krufka (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) posted 10 each—as the Sacred Heart women's volleyball team beat the St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers in three straight sets Sunday afternoon in the Genovesi Center. Freshman libero Ana Gonzalez (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) recorded 18 digs for the match-high as SHU improved to 10-9 on the season and 4-2 in conference play.

Three players hit over .400 in the three-set match contributing to Sacred Heart's highest hitting percentage against a Northeast Conference opponent this year of .291. Mercado led the match hitting .464, while Katie Direnzo (Shelton, Conn.) hit .429 and Riggs hit and even .400. Kiki Robinson (Bakersfield, Calif.) had a lot to do with that. The rookie setter posted her highest assist percentage of the season, .917, recording 44 assists on 48 attempts.

After dropping the first point of the match, the Pioneers rebounded with a three-point run featuring a kill and service ace by Mercado, who had an errorless set posting a .545 hitting percentage. The Terriers worked their way back to tie the score at three. The teams exchanged points and the lead before a kill by Marie Zimmerman (Denver, Colo.) tied the score at 13 and sparked a four-point Sacred Heart run to reclaim the lead, 16-13. SHU maintained the lead for the rest of the set, and a Mercado kill sealed the win 25-22 for the Pioneers. Krufka hit .500 (5-for-8 with one error) in the set. 

Sacred Heart combined a kill from Mercado and a SFBK hitting error for an immediate lead in the second set. The Pioneers maintained the lead throughout the set with service runs from Robinson and Gonzalez helping to extend the lead to its highest mark of nine points as SHU took a 2-0 match lead with the 25-16 win. Krufka, Mercado and Alissa Young (La Verne, Calif.) recorded and errorless set with Krufka and Young posting .333 hitting percentages and Mercado hitting .625.

The Pioneers gave the Terriers and early 4-0 committing four straight attack errors to open the third set. Three consecutive kills from SHU narrowed the score to just one point, but Sacred Heart continued to chip away until it tied the score at 12 and took the lead with back-to-back kills from Mercado. Two more kills and a service ace by Robinson boosted the Pioneers to a three-point lead, 15-12. SFBK came within two points on two occasions, but could never close the gap. A four-point service run from Jenna Hoffman (Rockaway Beach, N.Y.) helped SHU run away with the set extending the lead to 23-17. A kill from Mercado and a Terrier attack error clinched the set 25-19 and the match for the Pioneers. 

Sacred Heart hits the court again Saturday at Fairleigh Dickinson University at 1:00 p.m.