Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – The Elms College women's volleyball team rolled past visiting Bay Path University, 3-0 (25-15, 25-20, 25-11), in a New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) tilt at Picknelly Arena Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Blazers improve to 13-9 overall, and 3-0 in NECC play, while Bay Path slid to 0-3 in conference, and 7-10 on the season.
Leading 8-5 in the third set, Elms freshman Dakota Stewart (Victoria, Texas) assisted a kill by junior Rachel Magnuson (Miller Place, N.Y.) to become the new single-season record holder for assists in a season, surpassing the mark set by Kim Phillips during the 2007 season.
Play was close to open the first set as Bay Path grabbed a 3-1 lead behind a pair of aces from Taylor Heinbokel (), but Elms responded with service aces from Magnuson and freshman Ayanna Meadows (Springfield, Mass.) to harness an 8-6 advantage. The Blazers pulled away with a 10-2 run, featuring a trio of kills from freshman Hannah Pichardo (South Glen Falls, N.Y.), to create an 18-8 gap. Elms junior Danielle Redding (Las Vegas, N.V.) slammed four kills down the stretch and Meadows served up an ace to seal the 25-15 win.
The Blazers controlled play early in the second set, jumping to a 9-2 lead behind three aces from Stewart. Meadows knocked a kill and freshman Hayley Castanos (Santa Ana, Calif.) registered two service aces as the Blazers lead swelled to 15-4. Bay Path used a 5-1 run, powered by four kills from senior Lauren Vallee (Bristol, Conn.) to trim to gap to 16-11. Meadows delivered two kills to push Elms ahead, 19-12, but a pair of aces from Bay Path freshman Camielle Keith (Pawtucket, R.I.) kept the Wildcats close, 19-15. Leading 22-19, the Blazers held off the Wildcats with strikes from Stewart and Castanos to capture the 25-20 win.
Elms dominated play in the third set, taking a 6-3 lead behind two aces and a kill from Redding. Magnuson, Castanos, and senior Kate Moriarty (Agawam, Mass.) recorded kills to help the Blazers to a 13-5 advantage. After capitalizing on Wildcat errors, Castanos logged back-to-back aces to set the score at 19-9. Leading 23-11, Stewart served up consecutive service aces to complete the 25-11 win.
The Blazers had eight player register a kill, paced by a team-high eight kills, five digs and three aces from Redding. Pichardo added five kills, while Meadows chipped in four kills, eight digs, four assists, and three aces. Stewart totaled 21 assists, six digs, a match-high five aces, and three kills. Castanos tallied three kills with a career-high five aces in the win.
Vallee powered the Wildcats attack with a match-high 12 kills, eight digs and two aces. Junior Taylor Heinbokel (Agawam, Mass.) and sophomore Talia Hicks (Northfield, Mass.) each added a kill in the loss. Junior Lexi Cears (Agawam, Mass.) dished out 12 assists, while Heinbokel grabbed a team-high nine digs.
The Blazers will look to remain in the win column when they travel to Southern Vermont College for an NECC contest Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. Bay Path hosts Mitchell in conference action Thursday at 7:00 p.m.