BOSTON, Mass. – The Emmanuel College women's volleyball fell to Simmons College, 3-2 (19-25, 22-25, 25-21, 25-23, 12-15), Tuesday evening in Great Northeast Athletic Conference action at the Jean Yawkey Center. The Sharks led 2-0 before the Saints rallied to send the match to a decisive fifth set but the comeback fell short as the visitors prevailed with a 15-12 win in the final frame. Simmons improves to 8-9 on the year and 5-2 in GNAC play while the loss drops EC to 10-16 and 6-3.
Simmons dominated the first two sets, holding Emmanuel to a combined .013 hitting percentage over the frames. First year outside hitter Morgan Weeg (Goodyear, Ariz.) led the Sharks offensive charge with 10 kills in the opening frames, setting the tone for the rest of the evening.
The Saints showed life in the third set, taking the lead for good following a kill by sophomore outside hitter Marissa Cataldo (Melrose, Mass.) that gave the hosts a 7-6 advantage. They led by as many as seven in the set, coasting to a 25-21 win to put the match at 2-1.
In the fourth frame, the Sharks built a 17-13 lead following a Weeg kill before Emmanuel began to turn things around. The squads traded points to a 20-16 score before the Saints rattled off six consecutive points including five straight blocks go grab the lead and momentum. Senior Cassie Chruscielski (Duluth, Minn.) and sophomore Mary Shelow (Miami, Fla.) each recorded multiple rejections during the run including four block assists and one solo block by Shelow to help EC pull ahead 22-20. Simmons fought back, tying the score at 23-23 with the help of a few errors from the hosts but back-to-back kills from freshman middle Shannon Carroll (Massapequa, N.Y.) and senior middle Kaitlyn Atkinson (Brookline, N.H.) sent the match to a fifth set.
Emmanuel raced out to a 7-4 lead in the final frame, getting some help from the visitors who made four attack errors in the early goings of the set. A timeout by Head Coach Scott Grandpre calmed the Sharks down and the squad responded by going on a 5-1 run to take a 9-8 lead after an Emmanuel attacking error. The Saints lost Shelow during the melee due to a knee injury at the net and were not able to get the ball down when they needed it the most. Simmons finished out the frame with a kill by senior Kat Guillotte (New Bedford, Mass.) to take the set 15-12 and match, 3-2.
Weeg led all players with 21 kills to go along with 13 digs. First year setter Kenna McCarthy (Shelter Island, N.Y.) dished out 38 assists while also collecting nine digs and serving up a team-high four aces. Senior libero Alex Itasaka (Bradford, Mass.) was a force defensively with 33 digs while Guillotte chipped in with 17 digs for the Sharks.
Shelow and Cataldo each finished with 10 kills for the Saints while Shelow added seven solo and six block assists before getting injured. Cataldo added 22 digs to match the team-high total by senior libero Sarah Schemerhorn (Los Angeles, Calif.). Chruscielski was just one dig behind them with 21 and now has 999 digs in her career needing just one more put up to join The Grand Club at Emmanuel. Sophomore setter Carly Church (Higganum, Conn.) tallied a double-double with 19 assists and 12 digs.
The Saints return to action on Thursday, Oct. 20 when they head to Emerson College for a 7:00 PM non-conference tilt. Simmons is idle until Saturday, Oct. 22 when they head to Rivier University for a GNAC tri-match against Mount Ida College at 1:00 PM before facing the host Raiders at 3:00 PM.