By John Reed
SC Staff Writer
On Saturday, September 6 the ESU Women’s Volleyball team opened their season playing in the ESU Invitational at Koehler Fieldhouse.
The six-team tourney featured five out-of-conference opponents: American International, Fairmont State, Wilmington, Bowie State, and Le Moyne.
With four games in the tournament over the weekend ESU turned in a good performance, in which they finished with a record of 3 – 1.
AIC (L 3-2)
ESU’s opening game against American International saw them take the early advantage by winning 2 out of the first 3 sets.
Led by senior Abby Welch and freshman Desiree Claxton – 11 and 12 kills – ESU found themselves in the driver’s seat and only needed to win one more set to earn the first victory of the season.
Losing the fourth set, ESU would have to dig in and win the fifth and final set of the match. Despite a great effort, ESU fell to AIC by a score of 15 – 17.
Junior libero Maddie Hutchison led all players with 28 digs followed by junior Haley Mork who had 16. Senior Annabelle Charlton had a good overall performance with 5 kills, 15 assists, 10 digs, and 3 block assists.
American International was led by Phoebe Lettington, Bailey Swan, and Caitlin Sobolewski who posted double
digit kills with 14, 12, and 11 respectively.
Le Moyne (W 3-2)
Closing out the first day of action in the ESU Invitational, ESU came from behind to finish off Le Moyne in five sets.
Welch and Claxton led the charge with 18 and 11 kills apiece, but again it was Charlton who put up a great effort with 9 kills (.269 hit percentage) on 26 total attempts and recording only 2 on her attempts.
Hutchison paced ESU with 30 digs – 21 more than any other ESU player – to lead the back row.
ESU opened strong by taking the first set with a score of 25-21, but then dropped consecutive sets with a score of 25-23.
One set away from opening the season with consecutive losses, ESU dominated the fourth set on their way to setting up another pivotal winner-take all scenario.
Overcoming their early struggles against Le Moyne, ESU was able to finish them off with a 15-11 victory. Le Moyne was led by Andrea Buchanan and Natalie Casson who had 15 and 11 kills apiece.
Le Moyne’s Megan Maisonet led all players with 44 assists.
Bowie State (W 3-0)
Day two of the ESU Invitational opened with a bang as ESU swept Bowie State in three straight sets (25-16, 25-18, 25-17).
Bowie State never really threatened as ESU won by at least 7 points in each set.
The Warriors offense seemed to come from every angle. Freshman Sarah Fillman played an efficient and effective game with 6 kills on 6 total attempts – which gave her a perfect hit percentage.
Sophomore Abby Koval also posted a flawless hit percentage – 1 kill on 1 total attempt – but she really shined by leading the team in assists with 8. Lydia Redman also posted 7 assists.
Bowie State was led by India Mason – 8 kills – and Brooke Archersimpson – 17 assists.
Wilmington (W 3-1)
The Warriors finished the weekend on a positive note by holding off Wilmington in four sets. By winning the first two sets handily – both wins finished at 25-19 – ESU was rolling into the third set.
With a slight hiccup in the third set – ESU lost 25-18 – the Warriors we unable to complete consecutive sweeps to finish out the tournament, but came back to knock off Wilmington with a 25-20 victory in the fourth set.
Desiree Claxton finished her first ESU Invitational emphatically with 20 kills (.320 hit percentage) on whopping
50 total attempts – 5 more than the next closest player. Senior Elizabeth Higley was a force at the net with 7 total blocks.
Freshman Erica Cunningham got on track in a big way in the final matchup by posting 17 assists and 9 digs.
Wilmington was led by Kaitlin DiGiacinto who paced the team with 12 kills and 16 digs.
ESU hosts another tournament this coming weekend beginning September 12 and running through the 14.
The Warriors are slated to compete in four matches – two on Saturday (vs. Barry and Southern New Hampshire) and another two on Sunday (vs. Bloomfield and Pace).
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