WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – Junior Amanda Tourjee (Waterford) served seven straight late points in the first set and the Eastern Connecticut State University women's volleyball team scored the final two points of the second set – the clincher on an ace from junior Michelle Valliere (Lebanon) -- on the way to a 25-21, 25-23, 25-14 sweep of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in the openers for both teams Thursday evening at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.
In the first meeting between the programs since 2008, Eastern senior Adrianna Mihalek (Woodbury) led all players with 11 kills and a .292 attack percentage in the non-conference victory over last year's ECAC Division III tournament finalists.
The Trailblazers attacked at -.025, with no player accumulating more than five kills. Eastern managed to claim the first two sets by a total of six points despite attacking at .060, but settled in to record the sweep by attacking at .579 with just one error in the 11-point decision in the third set.
In the final set, Mihalek and first-year junior transfer Carly Balskus (Hebron) each had three kills, with Mihalek digging up four balls and Tourjee and sophomore Leah Sopneski (Deep River) each serving two aces.
Tourjee and Sopneski each had 14 assists, combing for 11 of the team's 12 helpers in the third set. One of only two newcomers to the team this year, the six-foot Balskus had eight kills and attacked at .250, while senior Ashley Adams (Mystic) contributed four kills and a .300 attack percentage. Mihalek also let all players with 12 digs. Senior middle Kay Mullen (Fairhaven, MA) had two block solos and an assist.
After giving up the late lead in the first set, Mass College moved out to a 10-4 lead in the second set behind the serving of junior Rebecca Godbout – who had two straight service aces -- and junior Taylor Wiese. Down five, the Warriors again rallied with five straight points – three of the points coming on Mass College errors – to pull even. Godbout's third kill of the set pulled the visitors even before Eastern moved ahead on a Mass service error and Valliere's only ace of the set.
Senior All-New England hitter Allison Clark managed only four kills and a .067 attack percentage for the Trailblazers. Sophomore Beatrice Lechler had eight assists and Godbout ten digs.
Eastern faces Maritime College Saturday at 1 p.m. in the opening round of the Morrisville State College Invitational.