NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University women's volleyball team gritted out a tough 3-0 victory over New England College on Wednesday evening in non-conference action at Andrews Hall Gymnasium.
Norwich remained unbeaten through three matches against the Pilgrims after tonight's victory and improved the team's overall record to 12-7.
The match was immensely competitive from start to finish with neither team holding a lead of more than five points in any set. The Cadets were able to utilize two come-from-behind wins in the first and third set to claim victory with set scores of 27-25, 25-22, and 29-27.
The Cadets jumped out to a 9-4 lead in the early stages of the first set due in large part to attack errors by the Pilgrims. However, the visitors quickly made the necessary adjustments and stormed back to even the game at 9-9 minutes later thanks to a pair of kills from Tihani Ehia and Sydni Geisler. From there the Pilgrims surged ahead to take an 18-15 lead following another Ehia kill.
A subsequent 6-0 run by the Cadets helped regain their lead at 21-18, only to see that lead be erased and the score evened again at 25-25. A service error by NEC (10-10) and a service ace by Marissa Perrotti (Moultonborough, N.H.) locked in the first set win for the Cadets.
A similar storyline repeated itself early in the second set as Norwich grabbed an 8-4 lead, highlighted by four kills by Kathryn Farnum (North Andover, Mass.). Once again the Pilgrims regrouped and tied the game at 8-8 following a pair of Cadet miscues on the attack. The teams traded points back and forth throughout the remainder of the match until a pair of kills from Michele Zummo (Highland Mills, N.Y.) helped the hosts surge to a 23-19 lead. Zummo closed out the second set with her fourth kill of the set.
The common theme from the first two sets continued in the final set with Norwich using several ball handling errors on the visitors' setters and then a kill by Addison Hall (Apple Valley, Calif.) to edge out to an 11-7 lead. The Pilgrims continued to make adjustments and squared the set at 13-13 following a kill by Dreka Griffin. The teams again would trade points resulting in an 18-18 tie before NEC took advantage of some Norwich attack errors to take a commanding 22-19 lead late in the set.
Norwich was faced with four separate NEC match points, but each time battled back to tie the set. Following a dramatic rally which saw Brianna Dawson (Katonah, N.Y.) dig up a hard-struck attack, Zummo race towards the bleachers to save the ball and K. Farnum win the point, the Cadets ramped up their defense and forced the Pilgrims into two attack errors to close out the match.
The storyline for Norwich was the dynamic sister duo of Kathryn and Sarah Farnum (North Andover, Mass) who connected on 35 attacks and resulted in a game-high 15 kills for the former and 31 assists for the latter. Zummo recorded 9 kills, while Dawson paced the defensive players with 14 digs. With 30 attack attempts in the game, Zummo moved into sole possession of the most attempts (2,047) all-time in Norwich history, moving past April Byllaardt '12 for the honor.
NEC sported the better hitting percentage (.130 to .122 for the Cadets) and was led by Ehia and Geisler who each contributed eight kills. Kenzie Barron and Maggie Dadmun combined for 34 assists, while Jaycie Kodama paced the defensive players with 14 digs.
Norwich will be back in action this Saturday when the Cadets travel to Lasell for a Great Northeast Athletic Conference doubleheader against Rivier at 1 p.m. and the host Lasers at 3 p.m.