Cadets Trip Up Gators, 3-0

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Pine Manor fell to Norwich University 3-0 (25-13, 25-22, 25-8) on Saturday, September 25, dropping the Gators to 4-5 overall and 1-3 in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) play. Norwich improved to 8-5 (1-0 GNAC) with the win.

Norwich came out strong in the first set of the day taking an early lead on route to a 25-13 set victory. Senior Molly Rice (Sunapee, NH/Sunapee), 21 set assists, orchestrated a Norwich attack led by classmate Thea Evans (Glencoe, NM/New Mexico Military Institute) and Junior April Ballyaardt (Stormville, NY/Carmel), who both threw down 9 kills on the afternoon. Ballyaardt was a constant threat at the net as she also contributed 4 blocks in match.

Pine Manor would try to bounce back in the second set, but would fall just short of Norwich, 25-22. Despite the efforts of Sophomore Alie Johnston (Winnipeg, MB/River East Collegiate), 6 kills and 3 service aces, and Freshman Imara Jackson (Malden, MA/Mystic Valley Charter), 5 kills and 2 blocks, and strong defensive contributions from Ashley Carusone (Nashua, NH/Nashua North), 19 digs, and Jennifer Gross (Coral Springs, FL/Coral Glades), 10 digs, the Gators could not rally past the visiting Cadets.

"We made a nice run in the second set," said Pine Manor head coach Mike Murphy. "I believe that is an indicator of how we can play against strong opponents. However, we also need to be able to close the door and finish when we have an opportunity to win a set."

Already holding a 2-0 set advantage, Norwich would put away away the Gators with a convincing 25-8 victory in the third and final set.

"We knew going in that we were facing a strong opponent," said Murphy, "but I think we can learn from this match. We had some trouble with our execution and those mistakes get magnified against a team like Norwich. We have a good stretch of practice time before our next match so we have to make the most of it and work on improving our execution."

Pine Manor will return to action next weekend as they travel to Worcester to take part in a non-conference tri-match at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). At 1:00pm, the Gators will be in search of their second victory of the season against Mass. Maritime, having defeated the Buccaneers 3-0 on September 13. Following that match, Pine Manor will take on host WPI at 3:00 pm.

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