WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - Senior Torrie Epps (Windsor, Conn.) posted a career-high 12 kills and hit a team-best .273, but the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) women's volleyball team fell in four sets to the Elms College Blazers at home on Thursday night inside the O'Connell Center. The Blazers topped the Blue Jays 3-1 (25-14, 27-29, 25-14, 25-18) to remain undefeated and improve to 5-0 on the 2018 season, while USJ slips to 1-2. Saint Joseph will return to the court next on Saturday when they open Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) play with a tri-match at Colby-Sawyer with the Chargers and Johnson & Wales Wildcats.
Sophomore Aminah Tsonga (Plainville, Conn.) led Saint Joseph with a team-high 13 kills, while Epps added 12 kills and hit a team-best .273. Senior Brenna Miller (McCleary, Wash.) facilitated the offense and posted a match-high 30 assists and added a pair of block assists. Classmate Janell Molina (Honolulu, Hawaii) led the defensive effort with 14 digs, while freshman Hannah Benson (Terryville, Conn.) chipped in with 12.
First Set: Elms 25-14
- Both teams traded points in the early going and after an Elms service error, the score was knotted 9-9.
- The Blazers then sparked a 10-2 run taking advantage of four USJ attacking errors over the spurt to take control of the set and led 19-11.
- Saint Joseph couldn't recover from the big run and only mustered three more points for the remainder of the set and dropped the opener 25-14.
- Elms hit .211 in the set while holding USJ to -.048.
Second Set: USJ 29-27
- The second set saw the score tied five times, but the Blue Jays never trailed en route to tying the match 1-1.
- A Tsonga kill gave USJ an early 6-2 edge over the Blazers.
- Following another Tsonga kill, the Blue Jays raced out to a 15-8 advantage and forced an Elms timeout.
- The Blazers responded from the break and went on a 5-1 run fueled by three straight kills from junior Hannah Adams (Deerfield, Mass.) to pull within 16-13 and force a USJ timeout.
- Saint Joseph would maintain a slight edge for the remainder of the set until back-to-back points tied the match at 24-all.
- USJ would force three consecutive set points, but Elms responded each time until the Blue Jays finally broke through on the fourth set point and Epps found the floor for a set-winning kill.
- Tsonga finished with a set-high six kills as USJ hit a match-best .216 in the second stanza.
Third Set: Elms 25-14
- The Blue Jays held a slight 3-1 edge early, but four straight points including back-to-back service aces made it 5-3 Elms and forced a USJ timeout.
- Saint Joseph would battle back and tie things up 6-6, 7-7, and 8-8, but that would be as close as they would get for the remainder of the set.
- Following a USJ block by Miller and Epps to get within 13-11, Elms sparked a key 7-0 run to take control of the set and led 20-11.
- Once again, Saint Joseph couldn't recover from the big run and was only able to get three more points to fall 25-14.
Fourth Set: Elms 25-18
- Saint Joseph wouldn't go down without a fight in the final set which would see the score tied nine times and change hands six times.
- USJ would take its first lead following a kill by Epps to make it 6-5.
- Each team would trade point-for-point leading up to an 11-11 tie before Elms got a couple in a row to make it 13-11 and force a Saint Joseph timeout.
- The Blue Jays would battle back and re-tie the set 14-14, but a quick 4-0 spurt by Elms put them right back in front 18-14.
- That would provide enough of a cushion for the Blazers to hang on for the set victory, 25-18, and match win, 3-1.
USJ was held to a .078 hitting percentage as a team for the match, while Elms hit to a .223 mark. The Blazers did a lot of damage off the serve posting a 13-3 advantage in service aces. Senior Danielle Redding (Las Vegas, Nev.) finished with a match-high 14 kills to lead the Blazers, while sophomore Ayanna Meadows (Springfield, Mass.) recorded a double-double with 10 kills and 11 digs.
The USJ women's volleyball team will be back in action next on Saturday with a GNAC tri-match at Colby-Sawyer with the Chargers and Johnson & Wales Wildcats. USJ will square off with JWU at 1:00 p.m. before playing the hosts at 3:00 p.m.