DARTMOUTH, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth ended the season in impressive fashion, taking two sets from Western Connecticut for the first time since 2008, but the Colonials had the final say in a 3-2 full-comeback win at the Tripp Athletic Center on Saturday.
Score: Western Connecticut 3, UMass Dartmouth 2
Records: Western Connecticut (8-20, 3-4 LEC) | UMass Dartmouth (11-17, 0-7 LEC)
How it Happened
Ultimately, WCSU junior Kamari King's (East Hartford, Conn.) team-high 28 kills and 22 digs were too much for the Corsairs, as she and the Colonials put 45 assists from Jenna Skerritt (Wolcott, Conn.) to good use.
UMass Dartmouth saw phenomenal performances by outside hitters Amanda LaCroix (East Freetown, Mass.) and Nicole Silverman (Chelmsford, Mass.), who combined for 37 of their team's 47 kills. Silverman led the Corsairs with a career-high 20 kills, nearly hitting a 20-20 performance with 18 digs. LaCroix was close behind with 17 kills, combining with 25 digs, while sophomore libero Jillian Sykora (Waterford, Conn.) withstood the pressure on a career- and match-high 31 digs.
The Corsairs forced the Colonials onto their toes early, digging the visitors into a 2-0 hole. In the first, Silverman caught fire quick, recording nine of her kills on 18 attempts as UMass Dartmouth battled to a 28-26 point.
In the second, UMass Dartmouth seized control even further. A 3-0 start turned into a 12-5 advantage following two service aces by Silverman, before WCSU was able to edge back within three. Eventually, back-to-back Jordan Rittberger (Huntington, N.Y.) feeds to Silverman made the score 20-16, and Sykora served the Corsairs to the final two points for the 25-18 score.
The Colonials wouldn't go away quietly, though, and after gaining a point back in the third by a 25-20 margin turned the tides in the fourth set. King mustered six kills on 15 attempts, with the opponents going point-for-point until the Corsairs bumped ahead 23-20. After a pair of timeouts, WCSU was finally able to gain the last advantage on two-straight Corsair errors, evening the match at two-all.
Momentum then fully swung in favor of the visitors, as the Colonials committed just three errors to complete the full comeback in a 15-6 final set.
Inside the Numbers
- UMass Dartmouth last took a set against Western Connecticut in 2011, and have prevailed over the Colonials just three times since 1990. The last Corsair victory came in 3-2 fashion in 2005.
- In addition to her 38 assists on the match, Rittberger additionally added 14 digs and a match-high four service aces, with Silverman close behind at three.
- WCSU dominated net play, securing 11 total team blocks with five by Nyilah Horton (Centennial, Conn.) to UMass Dartmouth's three.
- Both teams combined for 201 digs in the defensive battle, with each team seeing four player reach double-digit digs. WCSU libero Jenna Pisano (Orange, Conn.) paced the Colonials with 25.
UMass Dartmouth closes the season at 11-17, while Western Connecticut will advance to the Little East Conference first round next Tuesday as the No. 5 seed. The Colonials will square off with No. 4 seed Plymouth State.