DALLAS, Pa. – Tara Welliver broke the 25th and final tie of the match with her 11th kill, then won it moments later with her 12th as Misericordia University survived a five-set thriller with Eastern Connecticut State University in a non-conference match Saturday afternoon at the Anderson Center. Misericordia won by 19-25, 25-17, 25-21, 26-24, 16-14.
In its first match of the day, Eastern (15-6) disposed of Farmingdale State College (7-19) in three, 25-17, 25-15, 25-16, giving the Warriors 11 wins in their last 12 matches.
Saturday's matches were the first-ever against either opponent for Eastern.
Against Misericordia (18-9), Eastern forced a deciding set by rallying for the final four points of the fourth set. With Eastern staring down match point, freshman Anna Barry (Andover) broke serve with a kill and sophomore Abby Stern (Manchester) tied the match with one of her own. Freshman Madison Bell (Salem) gave the Warriors the lead for good with one of her four service aces, and Stern guaranteed that there would be a decisive set with a set-ending kill. All three of Eastern's final kills in the fourth set were assisted by junior Mckenzie Maneggia (Andover).
Against Misericordia, coming off a 14-17 season last year, senior Carly Balskus (Hebron) led Eastern with 18 kills and a .429 attack percentage, added four service aces, handled 36 receptions with a .923 percentage, and had two block assists. Barry attacked at .393 with 14 kills and Stern finished with 13 kills Maneggia had 28 assists, freshman Meg Verizzi (Lebanon) collecting 26, and Bell handled 23 receptions with a .957 percentage.
Right off the bus following a four-hour trip, Eastern attacked at only .177 against Farmingdale, but the Rams helped out with a .014 percentage of their own – committing 14 errors against 15 kills. All 14 healthy players saw action in the match, where Eastern trailed only once – by a point – in the first set and eased to the win. Barry (9) and Stern (8) combined for nearly half of Eastern's kills. Maneggia had 20 assists and Long, Balskus and Bell teamed for 44 reception attempts with only two errors.
On the afternoon, Balskus (25), Barry (23) and Stern (21) all contributed more than 20 kills, with Balskus attacking at .408 and Barry .326. Maneggia totalled 48 assists, Verizzi 34, Balskus and Verizzi each adding six service aces, Long five and Bell four. Bell topped the team with 33 digs, Maneggia chipping in 20 and Bell making only one error on 37 reception attempts (.973).
Eastern hosts Plymouth State University Friday at 6 p.m. in a Little East Conference match. With two matches remaining in the LEC regular season, the Warriors share the top spot with Keene State College, having won five in a row since opening the conference season losing at Keene. Eastern closes out the LEC regular season Oct. 27, hosting the University of Southern Maine. Plymouth is 1-4 in the conference, Southern Maine 3-3. The Warriors are the only team in the conference this year to defeat UMass Boston (4-1) or Rhode Island College (3-1).
Eastern Conn. 3, Farmingdale State 0
Eastern Conn. (15-5) 25 25 25
Farmingdale (7-19) 17 15 16
Misericordia U. 3, Eastern Conn. 2
Eastern Conn. (15-6) 25 17 21 26 14
Misericordia (18-9) 19 25 25 24 16