FITCHBURG, Mass. – The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) women's volleyball team defeated the Fitchburg State Falcons, 3-1, on the road in a non-conference match inside Parkinson Gymnasium on Tuesday evening. The Blue Jays topped the Falcons in four sets (25-17, 25-13, 26-28, 25-19) to improve to 7-7 overall on the season, while the Falcons slide to 2-12. USJ will be back in action next on Saturday in a road tri-match in Nashua, N.H. against Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) foe Rivier and non-conference opponent Framingham State.
Sophomore Aminah Tsonga (Plainville, Conn.) tallied a career-high 15 kills to power the Blue Jays to victory while hitting .200 in the match. Senior setter Brenna Miller (McCleary, Wash.) racked up 37 assists to facilitate the offense over the four sets, and three players logged double-digit digs on the defensive end. Senior Janell Molina (Honolulu, Hawaii) led the way with a season-high 30 digs, while freshman Hannah Benson (Terryville, Conn.) registered 14 and Miller chipped in with 13 to record a double-double on the evening.
First Set: USJ 25-17
- Saint Joseph raced out to an early 9-4 advantage following a kill from Molina.
- The Falcons rallied to cut the deficit to 23-17 on a pair of points off of serves by sophomore Lauren Riccardi (Tewksbury, Mass.).
- The Blue Jays secured the first set, however, as Benson responded with a kill off a set by Miller resulting in the 25-17 first set final.
Second Set: USJ 25-13
- The Blue Jays once again raced out to an early 15-4 margin with Miller leading the way for the visitors with four assists.
- Fitchburg State answered back as sophomore Amy Coelho (Bellingham, Mass./Bellingham) converted three straight points for the Green and Gold to make the score 20-11.
- USJ's early lead was too much though as the Blue Jays would take the second set by a score of 25-13.
Third Set: FSU 28-26
- Saint Joseph grabbed an early 6-1 margin following a kill by Tsonga.
- The Falcons battled back to knot the score at 26-26 after a USJ attack error.
- Fitchburg State secured the third set victory as senior Kristina Osborne (Ashby, Mass.) converted back-to-back points on the serve to give the Falcons a 28-26 victory to force a fourth set.
Fourth Set: USJ 25-19
- The Falcons would take a 6-2 edge to start the set after a service ace from Coelho.
- The Blue Jays came storming back though and grabbed the lead (18-10) after a service ace by Miller.
- Fitchburg State cut the deficit to 23-19 on a kill from senior Nicole Sylvester (Everett, Mass.), but Saint Joseph sealed the victory with a kill from Tsonga, resulting in the 25-19 fourth set final.
It marked just the second-ever meeting between the two squads on the volleyball court with the Blue Jays holding a 2-0 all-time advantage. The University of Saint Joseph won the first matchup with Fitchburg State, 3-0, last season at O'Connell Center.
The Falcons were led by Coelho with a team-best nine assists, two service aces, one kill, and four digs, while Sylvester added 16 digs, four kills and one assisted block. Osborne was also solid for the Green and Gold, collecting 16 digs, six kills, two service aces, and two blocks.
The USJ women's volleyball team returns to action next with a road tri-match in Nashua, N.H. against GNAC foe Rivier and non-conference opponent Framingham State. USJ will first play the Raiders at 11:00 a.m. followed by a match with the Rams at 1:00 p.m.