Pioneers Close Non-Conference Slate with 3-0 Win at Columbia

Johanna Ovsenek had a match high 18 kills at Columbia
Johanna Ovsenek had a match high 18 kills at Columbia

New York, NY – The Sacred Heart women's volleyball team finished the non-conference portion of the 2011 schedule with a dominant 3-0 victory over Columbia Tuesday night.  Johanna Ovsenek (London, Ontario) was on fire all night, blasting 18 kills along with a .464 hitting percentage.  Dianis Mercado (Vega Baja, Puerto Rico) notched a double-double in the win with 10 kills and 12 digs.  The Pioneers round out the regular season this weekend on the road against Saint Francis (PA) and Robert Morris.

Sacred Heart (23-7) swung at a blistering .353 pace in the first set and built a 16-10 advantage following a 10-4 spurt.  The Pioneers then rattled off their most impressive run of the season by taking the last nine points of the set, including eight points on the serve of Ashlyn Trimble (Temecula, CA), to take the opening frame, 25-10.  Ovsenek ripped seven kills in the set and Mercado was phenomenal on defense, tallying nine digs in the initial set.

Columbia (15-8) responded at the start of the second set by jumping out to a quick 4-0 edge.  However, the Pioneers had an immediate answer and rattled off five straight points, the final coming on a kill from Alissa Young (La Verne, CA), to grab a 5-4 advantage and force a Lions timeout.  It was a mid-set 11-3 surge for SHU that blew the second set open at 19-11.  The Lions would fight off four set points before a service error gave the Pioneers the frame, 25-17.

The Pioneers would lead wire-to-wire in the third set despite a frantic Columbia comeback.  The Lions, who trailed by six on two different occasions, closed to within one at 19-18  before back-to-back kills from Kimmee Roleder (Pasadena, CA) and Ovsenek regained the momentum for Sacred Heart.  Senior Maile Hetherington (Thousand Oaks, CA) put a kill to the floor to end the set, 25-21, and the match, 3-0.

Elise Sage (Greenwood Village, CO) recorded seven kills and a .500 hitting percentage for the match.  Roleder and Jessica Colberg (Long Beach, CA) both reached double-digit digs with 12 and 11, respectively.  Freshman Alisa Mesa (Long Beach, CA) dished out a match high 43 assists in the straight set victory.

The Sacred Heart women's volleyball team can clinch at least a share of the Northeast Conference regular season title this weekend with victories on the road Saturday versus Saint Francis (PA) and Sunday against Robert Morris.