STANDISH, ME - Saint Joseph's College (2-0) started off slowly but rebounded to win six consecutive sets in victories over Wentworth Institute (3-4) and Husson University (5-1) on the opening night of the Seventh Annual SJC Autumn Invitational Tournament at the Harold Alfond Center.
Saint Joseph's def. Wentworth - 22-25, 25-18, 25-18, 25-21
The Monks dropped a 25-22 set to Wentworth to open the evening but proceeded to notch 25-18, 25-18 and 25-21 wins en route to victory in the SJC season-opener.
Sarah Hawkes '13 (Pownal, Maine) opened her junior year with a statement match as the junior middle blocker registered a match-high 14 kills with 15 digs and four total blocks on the night. Erica Russi '14 (Debary, Fla.) contributed 22 digs and five service aces - both career-highs - while Kiah Begley '13 (Berwick, Maine/St. Thomas Aquinas) dealt a match-best 31 assists with 16 digs in the triumph. Kristin Palladino '14 (Exeter, N.H.) added 11 kills and eight digs with a .308 attack percentage for Saint Joseph's.
Julie Bruton '12 (Montgomery, Texas) paced the Leopards with 20 digs and nine kills while teammate Shannon Ponce '15 (San Jose, Calif.) chipped in with 25 assists and seven digs in a losing effort. Julie Rahilly '13 (Nashua, N.H.) added 11 digs and nine kills and Michelle Hobbs '14 (Northwood, N.H.) notched nine digs and eight kills on the night.
Husson def. Lyndon State - 25-9, 25-9, 25-21
Hannah Olstad '13 (Farmington, N.H.) registered 10 kills, six aces and two total blocks and Aleta Johnson '12 (Milton, N.H.) netted 19 assists, five aces and a pair of kills to help the Eagles earn a shutout victory over the Hornets. Chelly Smith '13 (New Boston, N.H.) contributed six kills, six digs and a solo block for Husson.
For Lyndon State, Maegan Fried '13 (Great Falls, Mont.) played well in a losing effort with three kills, three digs and a block.
Saint Joseph's def. Husson - 29-27, 25-17, 25-22
The Monks continued to play well in the team's second match of the night as the club seemed to get stronger as the evening progressed. The triumph over Husson proved to be a battle as the match featured 12 tie scores and six lead changes, but St. Joe's eventually prevailed with the help of Hawkes, who notched another strong performance with 13 kills, nine digs and two blocks in the exciting victory.
Begley added her second double-double of the night with 25 assists and 11 digs while Russi - who blasted a match-high four aces - and Jordan Pelczar '12 (Meredith, N.H.) picked up 11 digs apiece against the Eagles. Palladino and Brooke Dyer '14 (Lebanon, Maine) both belted six kills and rookie Emilee Penman (Uncasville, Conn.) contributed five digs in the nightcap.
A pair of career accomplishments were met in the Monks' closing match as Hawkes reached the 500-dig mark and Begley surpassed the 1400-assist plateau in the team's second event of the season.
For Husson, Olstad led the way with 11 kills, Johnson put up 25 assists and nine digs, Smith tallied nine kills and nine digs, and Rachel Voicechovski '12 (Westerly, R.I.) added eight digs and five kills.
Wentworth def. Lyndon State - 25-9, 25-18, 25-14
The Leopards quickly recovered after a hard-fought loss to St. Joe's by way of a 3-0 win over the Hornets of Lyndon State College. Bruton posted 10 kills, Hobbs collected nine digs and Lisa Osgood '15 (Abington, Mass.) belted three service aces in the Wentworth victory.
Fried recorded five kills while Taylor Young '15 (Lowell, Mass.) and Ariel Wright '15 (Belmont, N.H.) tallied a pair of aces apiece in the Hornets' second setback of the night.
Round-robin play resumes on Saturday with a pair of matches at 10:00 AM when St. Joe's faces Lyndon State and Husson faces Wentworth. The tournament championship and consolation events follow at 12:00 PM.
POSTGAME INTERVIEW WITH SARAH HAWKES: