Gators Grab Split in Salem State Tri-match

Gators Grab Split in Salem State Tri-match

SALEM, Mass. – The Gators split Saturday's tri-match at Salem State earning the 3-0 (25-12, 25-22, 25-21) victory against Johnson State after being swept by the Vikings in the first match of the day (18-25, 17-25, 20-25).

Following Saturday's action, Pine Manor's record goes to 7-14.

Pine Manor 0, Salem State 3

Emily Peay (Lebanon, Conn.) and Alexandra Hopkinson (Reading, Mass.) led Salem State with 10 and eight kills respectively as they topped Pine Manor in three close sets. Hopkinson also had four service aces to make her the match's top scorer.

Junior setter Micaela Forcaciari (Plymouth, Mass.) collected 20 assists for the Vikings to lead all players in that category. She also matched Hopkinson's match-high mark with four service aces.

Freshman Ashley Whiteshield (Seward, Alaska) and senior Natasia Franklin (Windsor, Conn.) each had three kills for the Gators. Whiteshield also had a team high five assists.

The first set was a back-and-forth battle until the Vikings started to pull away. With the score tied at 12, Salem State scored the next five points to put them ahead. They wouldn't trail again and took the first set 25-18.

The Vikings opened up a 20-10 lead in the second set thanks to a series of errors by Pine Manor. However, the visitors recovered and were able to battle their way back into the game. They closed the gap to five, making the score 22-17, but that was as close as they would get dropping the second set 25-22.

The third and final set was the closest of the match. PMC did not trail until Salem State took advantage of a Gator error to pull ahead 13-12.

The teams then traded points until Hopkinson took over recording two kills and two aces to open up the Vikings' lead to five. They would go on to win the set 25-21.

Pine Manor 3, Johnson State 0

Senior Destiny Mann (Orlando, Fla.), sophomore Susan Le (Lowell, Mass.), and Whiteshield stood out for Pine Manor in their second match of the day. Mann had eight kills to go with nine digs. Le's kill total of seven trailed only Mann's eight. Whiteshield had match-highs in both assists and digs collecting 22 and 11 respectively.

Outside hitter Breanna Laughlin (San Jacinto, Calif.) was the offensive leader for the Badgers totaling eight kills. Laughlin and fellow sophomore Domonique Carter-Stanley (Norwalk, Conn.) each had a team-high nine digs.

The Gators used two 6-0 rallies, including one to open the match, to grab a big lead over the Badgers in set number one. Johnson State started to pick up a little momentum toward the end of the set, but the early hole was too much to overcome.

Johnson State carried their momentum into the second set opening up a four-point lead early. Laughlin had three kills in that span as the Badgers pulled ahead 7-3 lead.

PMC slowly picked away at that deficit eventually taking a 14-13 advantage on a Mann ace. Neither team was able to take command for the rest of the set until the Gators scored the last three points to win 25-22.

The third and final set was extremely tight as neither team could extend their lead larger than four. Eventually, it was Pine Manor that came out on top winning the set 25-21.

The Gators are off until next week when they travel to Westfield State for a tri-match with the Owls and Mass. Maritime. They play the Buccaneers at 1 p.m. and take on the hosts at 3 p.m.

Westfield State is also on the slate for the Vikings as they welcome the Owls into their building on Tuesday at 7 p.m. for a conference match with their MASCAC rival.

Johnson State visits Green Mountain on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. for their next match.