After losing to Little East Conference rival UMass Boston in the opening match, 3-0 (18-25, 14-25, 13-25), the Rhode Island College women’s volleyball team came from behind to knock off Salve Regina, 3-2 (25-21, 23-25, 25-21, 20-25, 18-16), at The Murray Center on Saturday, Sept. 24.
Ranked 18th in the country, the Beacons from UMass Boston had little trouble coming through for a victory. The Beacons swept the Anchormen 25-18, 25-14, 25-13, earning their second LEC victory in as many tries. UMass Boston junior outside hitter Shannon Thompson and senior middle hitter Molly Rattigan coupled for 23 of the team’s 39 kills while senior setter Cassy Hanneman had 25 of the team’s 30 assists. RIC sophomore middle hitter Amanda Cabral had seven kills and five digs and junior outside hitter Breanna Boyer eight kills to go along with her nine digs.
RIC had little time to rest or dwell on the loss, as their next game with Salve Regina began shortly thereafter. Going into the second game, RIC head coach Elyse Tackmann said her team “needed to be consistent and focus on one play at a time.”
The second match of the day for the Anchorwomen was a true test for a young team with a great deal of the schedule still remaining. RIC won the first set against Salve 25-21 thanks to some solid net play. The Seahawks bounced back in the second set, staving off a late RIC rally to even the match at one set apiece. RIC took the third set 25-21 and Salve, led by senior middle hitter Julianne Barry who played a key role in equaling the score in the fourth set with a, 25-20 win. The stage was set for an intensely unpredictable fifth and final set.
“In the fifth set, we just wanted to go out and play our hardest and go for the win,” said RIC freshman setter Laura Jacques, who notched five kills in the victory.
Needing only 15 points in the fifth set for a victory, the Anchorwomen held an 8-7 advantage when the teams swapped sides. However, the Anchorwomen found themselves facing a match point when the Beacons jumped out to a 15-14 lead. “In the fifth set, we needed to compete and be mentally tougher than the other team,” said coach Tackmann.
RIC went on to secure the next two points before Salve tied it at 16 apiece. Boyer then hit a kill to end a long rally for the 17th point and Salve knocked the ball out of play, ending the contest. Boyer had 13 kills and 14 digs over the Seahawks. RIC freshman middle hitter Marina Stoermer was not too shabby either with 15 kills and junior setter Jessica Ho added 31 assists.
The comeback victory capped a big week for the Anchorwomen, who won two games at home earlier in the week before splitting a twin billing over the weekend. “Being at home we just want to defend our home court,” said Jacques. “We have that mentality at home.”
RIC visits Emmanuel (5-10) on Tuesday, Sept. 27 before returning home to face Salem State (0-9) on Thursday, Sept. 29. The Anchorwomen will cap off a busy week with a doubleheader on Saturday, Oct. 1 versus Westfield State (5-10) and Clark (4-6).
“Home court is extremely important and gives us a big advantage, said Tackmann. “Any time you have the home gym you have extra time and preparation.”