STANDISH, Maine – Saint Joseph's College (2-2) split a pair of matches in the 15th Annual SJC Autumn Invitational at the Alfond Center on Friday night, opening with a hard-fought 3-1 loss at the hands of Bates College (2-0) and closing the evening with a 3-0 triumph over Lyndon State College (2-1).
Bates stands as the lone undefeated program after the first two rounds of the four-round tourney, as the Bobcats continued to play well in a convincing 3-0 victory over Husson University (2-4) in the nightcap. Lyndon State kicked off the tournament by blanking Husson, 3-0, and enters day two with a 1-1 record in invitational play.
The action resumes at 10:00 AM tomorrow morning, when Husson and Saint Joseph's face off on Court 1 while Bates takes on Lyndon State on Court 2.
Bates def. Saint Joseph's, 3-1 (23-25, 27-25, 25-16, 25-13)
The Monks and Bobcats looked to be an even match in the first two sets, with the tourney hosts claiming the two-point win in set one before falling in extended play in the second set. Looking at the scores of the final two sets, one could deduce that the second-set loss took its toll, as Bates rolled through the third and fourth en route to a 3-1 victory.
In reality, the Monks fell victim to an outstanding service effort on behalf of the Bobcats, who totaled 21 aces as a team with Chandler McGrath (Seal Beach, Calif.) delivering eight to lead all participants. Nicole Cueli (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Laryssa Schepel (Flemington, N.J.) chipped in with five aces apiece in the impressive team performance.
Saint Joseph's received a stellar performance from Felicia Wachowiak (Milton, N.H.) in the loss, as the junior middle blocker tallied 10 kills along with a match-high five solo blocks versus the Bobcats. Junior Alli Hollander (Thermal, Calif.) added a double-double with 19 assists and 11 digs while junior Abbie McPhee (Epping, N.H.) posted a match-best 27 digs and sophomore Victoria Huntley (Ellsworth, Maine) contributed five kills and 12 digs in the setback. Sophomore Shadai Gosselin (Somersworth, N.H.) also played well, with three kills, four aces and seven digs in the opener.
Bates featured a formidable frontline, with Brynn Wendel (Boxbord, Mass.) notching a match-high 11 kills and McGrath and Mary Deneen (Windsor, Conn.) adding eight kills apiece. Tess Walther (Santa Monica, Calif.) registered an impressive double-double with 19 assists and 17 digs while Shepel augmented her service effort with a team-best 21 digs versus the Monks.
Lyndon State def. Husson, 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-23)
Lyndon State, which has appeared in the SJC Autumn Invitational every year since 2006, snapped a 16-game losing streak in the annual event with a solid 3-0 triumph over conference-rival Husson University in the 6:00 PM match on Court Two.
Abbey Greene (Exeter, R.I.) led the Hornets with five kills while Joy Piper (Belmont, N.H.) added four kills and six digs and Laura Drake (Hinsdale, Mass.) tallied three kills, four aces, five assists and 14 digs in the victory. Kelleigh Murtagh (Merrimack, N.H.) also played well and posted 10 digs versus the Eagles.
Husson was unable to overcome a lackluster hitting effort (-.075) despite solid performances by several individuals, including Nia Arranaga (San Jose, Calif.), who belted seven aces with three kills and a pair of blocks, and Kayla Hannon (Salem, N.H.), who added a double-double with 11 assists and 10 digs to her credit. Kristen Atwood (Cumberland, Maine) contributed five kills with one error in 13 bids and Sarah Wilson (Dover, N.H.) chipped in with 21 digs in the setback.
Saint Joseph's def. Lyndon State, 3-0 (25-12, 25-12, 25-10)
With little time to dwell on a disappointing result against Bates, the Monks were forced to refocus their efforts facing an upstart Lyndon State team. Saint Joseph's responded well to the early adversity with a trio of lopsided set victories en route to posting the program's first shutout triumph of the young season.
The duo of Wachowiak and Huntley racked up 14 kills combined (seven apiece) while the latter added four aces and five kills to her stat line against the Hornets. Gosselin continued to play at a high level with four aces and four digs while playing all around and Hollander chimed in with 15 assists and seven digs in the sweep. McPhee also added a team-best 10 digs in the nightcap.
The Hornets were unable to capitalize on the momentum gained in the 6:00 PM match, producing just six kills with 17 errors in 58 attack attempts against the Monks. Gwyneth Stahl (Whitinsville, Mass.) tallied 10 digs while Drake came up with seven digs in the loss.
Bates def. Husson, 3-0 (25-8, 25-19, 25-16)
The Bobcats all but clinched their third-consecutive SJC Autumn Invitational championship appearance when they completed their opening-night sweep with a resounding 3-0 win over Husson on Court Two.
Nicola Peraica (East Northport, N.Y.) led the way for Bates with seven kills while Walther contributed seven aces and seven assists and Wendel belted five kills against the Eagles. Augy Silver (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Hannah Tardie (Orange, Calif.) added three aces apiece in the closing contest, which required barely 90 minutes to complete.
For the Eagles, Arranaga recorded four aces and Hannon tallied eight assists and five digs.
Saint Joseph's College is Maine's only Catholic liberal arts college, providing a supportive, personalized and career-focused education for more than 100 years. From its 430-acre campus on the shores of Sebago Lake, the College offers more than 40 undergraduate programs to a population of approximately 1,000 students. Saint Joseph's College Online provides certificates, undergraduate and advanced degrees for working adults through an online learning program. For more, visit www.sjcme.edu.