NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich women's volleyball team walked away from Saturday's Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) home tri-match against Simmons University and Albertus Magnus College with a well-earned split. The Cadets were upended in a five-set marathon match against Simmons 3-2 in the opening match before topping Albertus Magnus in the nightcap, 3-0.
Before the first whistle, the Cadets honored a trio of long-serving members of the team as a part of senior day celebrations. Seniors Marissa Perrotti (Moultonborough, N.H.), Brianna Dawson (Katonah, N.Y.), and Michele Zummo (Highland Mills, N.Y.) were all presented with a gift from the program in recognition of their hard work and dedication.
Simmons 3 Norwich 2 (23-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-10, 15-4)
The opener set was a back-and-forth affair with nine ties recorded throughout the set. Simmons (13-6, 7-1 GNAC) held a slight advantage through the first half of the match, but only led by as many as two points at any juncture. Trailing 8-6, the Cadets battled back and enjoyed their first lead of the set following a pair of kills by Perrotti and Dawson before an attack error from the visitors caused the Sharks to utilize a timeout.
After the teams traded points, the hosts changed an 11-11 tie into a 16-11 advantage with a 5-0 run highlighted by a pair of kills from junior outside hitter Kathryn Farnum (North Andover, Mass.). The teams continued to trade points resulting in four more ties, the final one coming at 23-23. The Sharks used a Garbriela Hernandez ace and a kill by Megan Purser to claim set one.
Norwich (11-7, 4-2 GNAC) was almost error free on the attack in the second set, hitting .467 as a team. The Cadets jumped out to an early 4-0 advantage in the second set before the Sharks clawed their way back into a lead at 11-9. The Cadets sandwiched back-to-back runs of four and three points around a sideout from Simmons to gain a 16-12 edge with Zummo and Perrotti paving the way with a pair of kills each. The Sharks whittled that deficit down to two points, the latest at 20-18 only to see Norwich run the table with five-straight points to take the set.
The hosts used the same template for their third set win. First they took an early lead, just to see the Sharks battle back and take a lead of their own. A pair of mid-set runs totaling seven points then gave the Cadets the necessary cushion they would need to close out the set once again.
Being up and facing a game-clinching fourth set, the Cadets attack faltered in the late stages of the match. The team hit just .176 in the set and was thwarted by the Sharks' stingy defense at the net. The visitors posted three blocks in the set after having only tallied three total in the first three sets. The Sharks also improved their attack posting their best hitting percentage of the match at .259. Those ingredients led to an easy 21-10 win to set up the fifth and deciding set.
A pair of attack errors and one of Morgan Weeg's game-high 22 kills had the Sharks out to an early 3-0 advantage. The Cadets rallied right back after three consecutive hitting errors on the Sharks, one caused by a tandem block by Julia Schroeder and Marissa Perrotti. The consistent attack of the Sharks eventually won out, however, as the visitors used an 8-0 run to essentially ice the game with four different players contributing kills.
Weeg powered the Simmons' offense with a season-high 22 kills, leaving her one shy of her 1000th career kill. Sydney Iannantuono supplemented the attack with 12 kills. Faith Gray-Williams engineered the attack with her 47 assists, while Morgan Lauvray shouldered the load defensively, picking up 20 digs.
Norwich's offense was buoyed by K. Farnum and Zummo who had 13 and 9 kills, respectively. Freshman setter Sarah Farnum (North Andover, Mass.) directed the attack with 32 assists. Dawson celebrated her senior day by picking up 14 digs.
Norwich 3 Albertus Magnus 0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-14)
The back-end of the doubleheader was much less stressful than the earlier match as the Cadets swept Albertus Magnus (7-14, 0-5 GNAC). The team collectively hit .284, including averages of over .300 in the first two sets to earn the victory. In addition to picking up a much needed GNAC win to move to 4-2 in the conference, Brianna Dawson collected her 1000th career dig with her 12th dig of the match.
A 12-3 run midway through the opening set after being down 7-6 helped power the Cadets to a win to start the second match of the day. Perrotti and Zummo combined for seven kills during the extended run.
A similar 13-2 run at the start of the second set helped generate a 2-0 lead in the match. The Falcons trimmed the deficit to six several times, but could not get any closer. Zummo posted six kills in the second set for Norwich.
The third set featured a plethora of smaller runs throughout by the Cadets. Zummo led the Cadet hitters with five kills, followed by four by junior right side hitter Julia Schroeder (Victorville, Calif.) and three by freshman outside hitter Maggie McNeil (Guilford, N.H.).
Zummo tallied 18 kills to lead all hitters while Schroeder and Perrotti each notched seven kills. S. Farnum orchestrated the offense with 36 assists while Dawson grabbed her 1000th career dig as a part of her 15-dig performance. Schroeder also posted double digit digs with 11 of her own.
Diana Kalman and Ashley David led the Falcons with five kills each. Jaiden Williams recorded 18 assists as she ran the offense. Jesselle Guzman racked up 12 digs defensively.
Norwich will host New England College on Wednesday in Andrews Gym. The game will commence at 6 p.m. with the game also serving as a platform for the team's breast cancer awareness initiative.