NORTHFIELD, Vt. –Norwich University women's volleyball team hit .326 percent as a team and held the opposition to a .057 clip en route to a 3-0 sweep of St. Joseph (Conn.) in the team's Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) opener on Saturday afternoon at Andrews Hall Gymnasium. The game helped kickoff Saturday's bicentennial celebration taking place on campus.
The Cadets earned set wins of 25-18, 25-13 and 25-23. The win is the third in the last four for Norwich (7-3) who has blanked its opponent in each of those victories. The loss halts St. Joseph's (4-5) win streak at two. The win also pushed the all-time series to 11-3 in favor of Norwich.
The Cadets received a leading performance from junior outside hitter Kathryn Farnum (North Andover, Mass.) who registered a team-high 10 kills and added seven digs and three service aces. Senior middle blocker Marissa Perrotti (Moultonborough, N.H.) and senior outside hitter Michele Zummo (Highland Mills, N.Y.) each added 9 kills to the Norwich attack and junior middle hitter Julia Schroeder (Victorville, Calif.) supplemented the offense with seven kills.
Freshman setter Sarah Farnum, fresh off claiming Rookie of the Week honors in the GNAC this past week, guided the offense with 30 assists. Senior defensive specialist Brianna Dawson (Katonah, N.Y.) led the team with 14 digs, while sophomore middle hitter Addison Hall (Apple Valley, Calif.), Schroeder and Perrotti each registered three total blocks.
The Blue Jays were led by junior outside hitter Amina Tsonga who tallied 10 kills, followed by freshman middle hitter Shannon Carey who recorded seven kills. Freshman setter Nyah Young engineered the attack accumulating 15 assists, while freshman libero Natalia Rabassa notched eight digs on the back line.
Norwich started out quickly in the first set with a 9-0 run powered by a trio of kills by Perrotti. The Blue Jays twice reduced the lead to five points, but each time the Cadets would counter with a small run of their own and ended the game with a kill from K. Farnum.
The second set started out as a back-and-forth battle with the visitors holding an early lead at 3-1. A pair of kills by Schroeder and some excellent defense by the Cadets to force the Blue Jays into several attack errors resulted in the hosts regaining the lead at 6-3. Another 4-0 run capped by a kill by K. Farum boosted the lead to 10-4 for the Cadets and they looked poised to run away with the set. However, the Blue Jays rallied with a 4-0 run of their own to cut the deficit to 10-8. The hosts used a subsequent error by the visitors to their advantage and put the game out of reach with eight-straight points thanks largely three service aces by K. Farnum to boost the lead to 18-8. Schroeder sewed up the set win with a kill.
The third set was a hard fought battle that featured 13 ties, seven lead changes and the largest lead of just five points. The Blue Jays got out to the early lead again resulting from a kill by Emonnie Weston which made it 2-0. From there the action was back and forth with the Cadets battling back to tie the game just to have the visitors edge ahead by a point. The Cadets earned their first lead of the game, 7-6, on a Schroeder ace. The teams traded leads several times through the middle of the match until the Blue Jays asserted themselves with the score tied at 16-16. The visitors reeled off three-straight points to lead 19-16 capped off by a kill from Tsonga forcing the Cadets into a timeout. The Blue Jays built their lead to 23-18 after a Norwich service error. However, the hosts demonstrated their resiliency by stringing together seven-straight points including a pair of match clinching kills by Zummo to close out the victory.
Norwich will look to continue its winning streak as it resumes its GNAC schedule next Saturday by traveling to Suffolk for a doubleheader. The Cadets will play the host Suffolk squad at 11 a.m. before matching up against Western New England at 1 p.m.