NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University women's volleyball team earned an important split in its Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) doubleheader on Saturday afternoon in the Athletic Center at Lasell University. The Cadets fell 3-0 to Rivier in the day's opening match before taking the final three sets in a thrilling 3-2 victory over the hosts in the nightcap.
The team's overall record now sits at 13-8 including a 5-3 mark in the GNAC which serves as fifth best in advance of the upcoming championship tournament which seeds the top eight teams. The victory over Lasell served as a crucial win towards a potential playoff berth, a feat the Cadets haven't enjoyed since 2014.
During the second match of the day with her final kill, senior outside hitter Michele Zummo (Highland Mills, N.Y.) took over the number one spot on the all-time list for kills at Norwich. Zummo accomplished the feat in the deciding set against Lasell when she finished off an attack to pull the Cadets to within two point of Lasell at 6-4. Zummo passes the previous top two players Lisset Magdaleno (2007-09) and April Byllaardt (2008-11) who had 670 and 661 kills, respectively.
Rivier 3 Norwich 0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-19)
The first match of the day saw the Cadets overpowered by Rivier. The Cadets hit .146 percent from the attack line while allowing the Raiders a .233 success rate. The Cadets struggled on serve reception surrendering 12 service aces while registering just two themselves.
Junior outside hitter Kathryn Farnum (North Andover, Mass.) led the offense with eight kills while also contributing 10 digs and a pair of blocks. Junior right side Julia Schroeder (Victorville, Calif.) and senior middle blocker Marissa Perrotti (Moultonborough, N.H.) each added six kills in support of the offense. Freshman setter Sarah Farnum (North Andover, Mass) set up the attack by registering 21 assists, while senior defensive specialist Brianna Dawson (Katonah, N.Y.) led the way with 13 digs.
Norwich 3 Lasell 2 (25-27, 20-25, 25-15, 25-22, 15-12)
Norwich fell behind 2-0 before locking in and reeling off three-straight set wins to complete the come-from-behind, five-set marathon victory over the host Lasers.
The teams were locked into a very tight, back-and-forth battle in the opener with neither team able to enjoy more than a four-point cushion the entire set. The Cadets put themselves in position to take the set by earning a 25-24 lead following a kill by Zummo. A pair of attack errors by the Cadets and a service ace by the Lasers helped the hosts clinch the first set victory.
In the second set, the Lasers opened up a 15-10 lead midway through the match. Two kills by Zummo and sophomore middle blocker Addison Hall (Apple Valley, Calif.) reduced the lead to 17-15, but that was the closest the Cadets would get as the hosts extended their lead to 2-0.
A series of kills from a trio of Norwich attackers combined with three miscues by Lasell allowed the Cadets to take control of the third set in impressive fashion as they rolled out to an 8-2 lead. Kills by Hall and K. Farnum and a service ace by Dawson extended the lead to 14-6 and forced the Lasers into a timeout. Although the Lasers would whittle the lead down to 17-14, the Cadets would emerge with their first set victory with a dominant 8-2 run highlighted by three kills from Hall, including one for the game-clinching point.
After Norwich earned a side out to take a 5-4 lead early in the fourth set, four service aces from Schroeder ignited a 6-0 run to give the Cadets a 9-4 lead sending the Lasers searching for answers with a timeout. A series of attack errors by the Cadets allowed the Lasers to creep back into the set as the hosts reduced the deficit to 13-10. Another series of miscues by the Cadets narrowed the gap even further as Lasell climbed back within one at 18-17. An ensuing 7-3 run ended the set and squared the match at 2-2. The run included five kills by the Cadets and three by Zummo herself.
The game-deciding set featured an early 9-4 lead for the hosts at the switch. A 6-0 run for the Cadets capped by a K. Farnum kill turned the tide and gave Norwich the lead at 10-9. Another kill by Farnum combined with three consecutive errors by Lasell primed the Cadets for a match clinching point. S. Farnum delivered the winner putting down her second kill of the match as she attacked the second ball which caught the Lasers completely flat footed.
Norwich benefitted greatly from a well-balanced attack with Zummo (13), K. Farnum (12) and Hall (11) each notching double-digit kills. Hall's career-high 11 kills came with a .476 attack rate which was an all-time, top 10 single game attack percentage. S. Farnum also established a new career-high with 43 assists which was the fifth most in a single game all-time at Norwich. Defensively, four Cadets tallied double-digit digs with K. Farnum and Schroeder leading the way with 23 and 21, respectively. Dawson registered 19 digs while sophomore defensive specialist Olivia Brown (Rye, N.H.) recorded 18. Schroeder led the way at the service line with five aces.
Norwich will take to the road on Tuesday for its last non-conference matchup of the year when the Cadets face Keene State at 6 p.m.