Marquist Parker Sports Editor
BRISTOL, R.I. – In an important second set which featured 11 ties, the Roger Williams University women’s volleyball broke a final deadlock on Eastern Connecticut State University attack error and reception error en route to a two-point win and an eventual sweep of their non-conference match Tuesday evening. Playing its fourth match in five days, Eastern (3-1) fell to Roger Williams (4-1) for the fifth straight year – winning only two sets in those losses. The Hawks won by 25-20, 26-24, 25-18.
Eastern led by as many as three points midway through the second set but never led again after the Hawks tied the match, 14-14 on a kill by freshman Katherine Pickard, RWU’s six-foot conference Rookie-of-the-Week last week. Sophomore outside Abby Stern (Manchester), Eastern’s 2017 Little East Conference Rookie-of-the-Year, pulled Eastern even for the final time, 24-all, on a kill off a set by senior Leah Sopneski (Deep River). The Hawks followed by breaking Stern’s serve on an Eastern attack error, then won the set on freshman Kate Grabowski’s service ace. The Warriors led early in the match but behind the serving of Nicki Fallisi, RWU reeled off six straight points on four kills and two Eastern attack errors to surge to a four-point, 12-8 lead. Eastern cut the gap to one twice thereafter but could get no closer.
Stern had 18 kills and attacked at .385 and Barry chipped in seven kills with a .250 attack percentage and two blocks.. Stern also had a .960 reception percentage and 11 digs. Junior setter Mckenzie Maneggia (Andover) had 18 assists and a team-high 14 digs and sophomore outside Alaetra Long (Lincoln, NE) ten digs and nine kills. Sopneski followed Maneggia with 13 assists.
Even in a loss, one Warrior was given special attention: Madison Bell from Libero, Salem. Bell came off the bench in all three matches, playing all 11 sets and handling a team-high 38 receptions with only three errors when the Warriors opened the season with three straight wins. Bell was second on the team in digs with 25 (2.27 per set) and also contributed 18 assists and five service aces without commiting. It marks the fifth time in the last ten reports that an Eastern player was named the LEC’s top weekly rookie, following four-time selection, Abby Stern (Manchester), last year.
Eastern competes in the Trinity College Invitational this weekend, facing Trinity, Clark University, and Westfield State University.