WESTFIELD – Tournament MVP Julia Warner (Lee, Mass.) paced Westfield State University to a 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-16) victory over Framingham State University in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) women’s volleyball tournament championship game on Saturday.
Westfield (19-14) earns a bid the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in five years. Framingham finishes 26-7.
“This was the least expected of our championships but I am really proud of the players,” said Westfield veteran head coach Fred Glanville, whose team survived a semifinal scare to rally for a 3-2 victory vs. Worcester State earlier in the day. “We played much better against Framingham than Worcester. Our passing was better, our serve receiving was better, and our setting was better. And our blocking was also outstanding. Beating Framingham last week (to capture the regular season title) gave us a big boost and we knew what we had to do today.”
The Owls jumped out to a 21-10 lead and held off the talented Rams to take the first set, 25-21.
In the second set, Westfield went on a 9-3 run to take a 19-12 lead paced by the senior duo of Warner and Linsday Rescott. Warner had two kills and two service aces during the scoring spurt.
“Julia played outstanding in all phases of the game,” said Glanville of the 2013 MASCAC player of the year.
Framingham pulled to within three, 22-19, but Westfield sealed the second set with kills from Warner, 5-11 junior Carole Duquette, and 5-9 freshman Casey Doremus.
In a key statistic, the Owls had 12 team blocks in the match, including four blocks and four block assists by 5-11 sophomore Casey Howe.
“Framingham has two excellent hitters (senior Andressa Fernandes and freshman Alycia Rackliffe) but we have five or six players up front to counter them,” said Glanville.
Trailing 7-6 in the third set, Westfield tallied eight of the next 11 points to take control, 14-10. Westfield led 17-14 then finished with an 8-2 run.
Warner and Rackliffe each had a match-high 12 kills and Warner also had 10 digs. Rescott registered 10 kills and a match-high 20 digs. Junior Carolyn Cote was sharp with a match-high 27 set assists.
Fernandes and Danielle Girard each had six kills for the Rams and Maribeth Martin recorded 18 assists.
Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletics Conference (MASCAC) Semifinal Match
Westfield State 3, Worcester State 2
WESTFIELD, Mass. – Senior outside Julia Warner (Lee, Mass.) had 21 kills and 33 digs as Westfield State University outlasted Worcester State University, 3-2 (25-20, 26-28, 23-25, 25-19, 15-11) in the semifinals of the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletics Conference volleyball tournament on Saturday, Nov. 9.
The No. 1 seed Owls (18-14) advance to the MASCAC championship game and will host No. 2 seed Framingham State late Saturday afternoon. Framingham coasted to a 3-0 (25-16, 25-22, 25-14) victory over No. 3 seed Bridgewater State in the other semifinal matchup.
The Owls squandered large leads in the second set (24-19) and third set (20-12) as the scrappy Lancers took a 2-1 match advantage. During the regular season, Westfield State had edged Worcester State, 3-1.
But regular season champion Westfield jumped out to an early 8-4 lead in set four and held off another late Worcester rally to post a 25-19 victory.
Leading 19-16, in the fourth set, the Owls scored four straight points for a 23-16 lead capped by kills from Julia Warner and Casey Howe. Worcester State scored the next three points to close within four, 23-19, but Westfield won the set with a dink attack by freshman Casey Doremus and a Lancer double hit.
In the fifth set, Westfield trailed early, 5-2, then scored nine of the next 11 points for an 11-7 lead. Senior Lindsay Rescott ripped three kills during the key run.
Warner executed a perfectly placed dink to give Westfield a 13-10 edge, and the 2013 MASCAC player of the year finished the match with a kill.
In the opening set, Westfield snapped a 16-all tie with a 5-1 run to take a 21-16 lead. Rescott tallied three of Westfield’s final six points on kills and Howe ended the game with a block for a 25-20 decision.
In the second set, Westfield rattled off five straight points to take what appeared to be a commanding 24-19 lead. But backed by the serving of Kaylee Leduc and the potent frontline duo of Megan Brown and Alyssa Jasper, the Lancers scored five straight points to knot the score at 24-all. Leduc had two service aces during the comeback spurt.
Westfield held 25-24 and 26-25 leads but Worcester scored three consecutive points, the final two on Jasper kills, for the 28-26 decision.
The Lancers’ comeback in the third set was even more stunning. After Westfield opened a 19-11 lead with a 5-0 run, Worcester reeled off nine straight points to take a 20-19 lead. Leduc (two aces), Jasper and Brown again sparked the comeback.
Westfield did regroup to take a 23-21 lead, but Lancers clinched the set with four straight points.
In addition to Warner, other top attackers for the Owls were Rescott (18 kills), Carole Duquette (10), and Howe (8). Carolyn Cote racked up a game-high 60 assists, and Rescott and Kayleigh Shea each had 17 digs.
Jasper recorded 28 kills in 52 attack attempts and Brown was right behind her with 21 kills in 53 attack attempts. Gina Battista registered 56 assists and six block assists. Vicki O’Brien had 20 digs.