BOSTON, Mass. – Freshman setter Sarah Farnum (North Andover, Mass.) one-upped herself in the nightcap of Saturday's Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) doubleheader producing new all-time program high 56 assists as the Norwich University women's volleyball team posted its second 3-2 victory of the afternoon, this time against Emmanuel College at the Jean Yawkey Center.
Norwich 3 Emmanuel 2 (21-25, 25-22, 25-9, 17-25, 15-11)
As a team, the Cadets enjoyed a .227 success rate on its attacks which was led by outside hitters Kathryn Farnum (North Andover, Mass.) and Maggie McNeil (Guilford, N.H.). K. Farnum registered a career-high 20 kills to go along with 14 digs, while McNeil added a career-high 16 kills while attacking at a team-high .333 clip. Junior right side Julia Schroeder (Victorville, Calif.) notched a double-double with 12 kills and 16 digs.
S. Farnum continued her mastery at the setting position, putting the Cadets in prime spots offensively with her career-high 56 assists which topped her previous all-time mark of 53 from the team's previous match. Senior defensive specialist Brianna Dawson (Katonah, N.Y.) led the team defensively with 19 digs.
The teams played a classic opening set as neither was able to build any sort of sustainable lead of more than four points. With the score deadlocked at 20-20, a pair of Emmanuel kills and a Norwich error gave the hosts a 23-20 lead. A kill by Perrotti gave the Cadets the serve, but two more kills by the Saints gave them the early 1-0 match lead.
Norwich jumped out to the early lead in the second set and held the advantage throughout most of the set. With the Cadets leading 16-13, the Saints mounted a comeback using a 5-0 run to take its first lead of the set. Kills by sophomore middle blocker Addison Hall (Apple Valley, Calif) and K. Farnum put the Cadets back in front 20-19. A trio of kills from McNeil along with her tandem block with senior middle blocker Marissa Perrotti (Moultonborough, N.H.) on the set's final point wrapped up the match.
The Cadets could do no wrong in the third set hitting an astounding .536 as a team and limiting the Saints to just a .077 success rate on the attack to easily run away with a 25-9 victory and put them in position to close out the match. K. Farnum posted seven kills in support of the offense.
The Saints turned the tide in the fourth set building a 20-12 lead on the strength of a .342 attack percentage. On the other side, Norwich was held to its worst rate in the match at just .139 as it struggled to defend tipped and roll shots in the set. The Cadets trimmed the deficit to five points, but three late kills by Emmanuel gave them the set and sent the match to a fifth and deciding set.
The teams traded points culminating in a 4-4 tie in the early going. Fatigue began to set in and players were challenged getting on top of their attacks and covering their spots. A pair of errors by the Saints and a kill by K. Farnum gave the Cadets some breathing room with a 7-4 lead. A trio of kills by the hosts surrounding one by Hall brought the Saints back to within one at 8-7. Two attacks put down by McNeil extended the lead to 11-7. The hosts battled back with three more kills of their own to bring them to within one at 12-11. A kill by Norwich's Schroeder gave the Cadets the serve and McNeil held her serve with an ace before K. Farnum extinguished any comeback attempts with a match-clinching kill giving the visitors a 15-11 win.
Norwich moved to 15-9 overall on the season with the win and improved its GNAC mark to 7-3, greatly improving its chances at its first post-season appearance since 2014. The program's 15 wins in 2019 are the most since 2011.
The team will look to continue its late-season conference success when it closes out the GNAC schedule next Saturday with matches against Colby-Sawyer and top-ranked Johnson & Wales.