August 28, 2009

Women's Volleyball Wins 2009 Season Opener

Aug. 28, 2009

Final Stats

WEST POINT, NY - Sophomore Brittany Best (Norco, CA) recorded a match-high 20 kills, and was one of three Pioneers to record double-doubles, as the Sacred Heart women's volleyball team clipped Eastern Michigan 3-1 in the opening round of the Army Invitational Friday afternoon.

Sophomore Ashlyn Trimble (Temecula, CA) also had a double-double with 16 kills and ten digs, while fellow sophomore Maile Hetherington (Thousand Oaks, CA) also had one with 11 kills to go along with 11 digs.

Freshman Elise Sage (Aurora, CO) led a balanced attack in the opening set with four kills as the Pioneers managed a 25-23 win. Sophomore Jessica Colberg (Long Beach, CA) played an outstanding defensive game, recording six digs. She finished with a match-high 28 in the four games.

The Pioneers took a 2-0 lead with a 25-19 game-two win. Best finished with seven kills, without recording an attack error.

The Eagles still had fight in them and stayed alive with a solid 25-15 win in set three. They recorded 17 kills in the game with just four errors, led by four each from Rachel Iaquaniello and Jennifer Swartz.

Eastern Michigan threatened to tie the match when it opened up a quick 8-3 lead in the fourth set. Three straight points on the serve of junior Courtney Kidd-Kadlubek (Santa Barbara, CA) got the Pioneers back within a point at 8-7. A kill by Hetherington off a set from Kidd-Kadlubek knotted the game at 12-12 and the dogfight was on.

The two teams traded points back and forth until the set was deadlocked at 23-23. A kill by Swartz off SHU's serve had the Eagles a point away from tying the match but Herthington returned the favor off the serve of Cassie Sowers to tie it at 24-24.

With the set tied at 26-26, the Pioneers had the serve after a Trimble kill. With Colberg serving, Best saved her best for last. She recorded her 19th kill of the match off a Trimble set to give the Pioneers the lead, and put the game away with another winner from Kidd-Kadlubek.

"Brittany was excellent today," says head coach Rob Machan. "She's really developed the ability to work off the the block and use the blocker's hand to her advantage."

Kidd-Kadlubek finished the match with a hefty 56 assists. As a junior, she is already third on SHU's all-time helper list.

"Courtney has come in and completely embraced her role on this team," says Machan. "She is a true team leader and has worked hard this off season to be in peak shape and really help this team."

"We're a lot more balanced this year," he continued. "I think the whole team had to shake off some nerves early, not just the freshmen. The contributions that (freshmen) Elise and Johanna (Ovsenek) had today put a lot of pressure on the other team becasue we are attacking from so many different angles now."

The Pioneers will face Fairfield University in their second game of the Invitational Saturday at 3 pm, and then take on the host Black Knights at 6:00.