WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – The University of Saint Joseph volleyball team swept the Mitchell College Mariners, 3-0, at home inside the O'Connell Athletic Center on Tuesday night. The Blue Jays won in straight sets 25-20, 25-21, 25-12 to improve to 3-6 overall on the season, while the Mariners fall to 0-6 with the loss.
Sophomore outside hitter Jasmine Buckley (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.) led the way offensively for the Blue Jays with a match-high 12 kills, while junior setter Brenna Miller (McCleary, Wash.) dished out a match-high 23 assists. Buckley also posted a career-high seven service aces.
For Mitchell, freshman Nikki Gerald (Mount Vernon, N.Y.) finished with a team-high three kills and senior setter Lauren Tompkins (Prospect, Conn.) facilitated with 10 assists. Rookie Courtney Cappabianca (Torrington, Conn.) led the defensive charge for the Mariners with 13 digs.
USJ raced right out of the gate to an early 4-0 lead and would go on to never trail in the opening set. The Blue Jays would build their lead to as large as seven, 11-4, following back-to-back service aces by Buckley. However, the Mariners would respond a little later in the set and pull within three, 16-13, off the serve of senior Megan Elphick (Waterford, Conn.). USJ answered right away with a quick 3-0 run to swing the momentum and would eventually hold on for the 25-20 opening set win.
The second set was tightly contested early until the Blue Jays sprung off a 7-1 run in the middle of the set to jet out to an 18-10 advatange. Buckley registered a pair of kills to fuel the run. Mitchell wouldn't go down easily though and took advantage of some USJ miscues to rattle off a huge 10-2 run of its own and tie that set late, 20-20. A big kill by junior Carly Ruzbasan (Torrington, Conn.) and a service ace by Lemek would stop the run before a kill by Molina ended the set, 25-21, in favor of the hosts.
It was all Blue Jays in the third and final set as they cruised to a 25-12 victory to secure the 3-0 sweep. Carrying the momentum over from the second set, USJ exploded out to a 13-1 lead to start the set and would never look back en route to the win. Four service aces by Buckley powered the third set for the Blue Jays.
The USJ volleyball team will be back in action next at home on Friday night against Fitchburg State at 7 p.m. Mitchell returns to action at home on Thursday against Westfield State at 7 p.m.