Gators Top Elms in Marathon Match, 3-1

CHICOPEE, Mass. – Pine Manor College defeated Elms College 3-1 (25-11, 25-19, 34-36, 25-21) on Tuesday October 26, picking up a road win in a match that included a third set for the record book.

The Gators raced out to a two sets to none lead, capturing the first set convincingly, 25-11 before moving on to take the second, 25-19. Junior Jennifer Gross (Coral Springs, FL/Coral Glades) totaled 13 kills in the match, helping her to surpass 400 career kills for the Gators, while sophomore Alie Johnston (Winnipeg, Manitoba/River East Collegiate) totaled a team-high 14 kills as the Gator co-captains helped lead Pine Manor to the victory. Johnston also tallied 5 service aces for the Gators, while freshman Megan Patch (Bethpage, TN/Red Boiling Springs) had a team-high 6 service aces and a match-high 15 digs to go along with her 32 set assists.

Down two sets to none Elms battled back to capture a marathon third set, 36-34. In a set that included numerous lead changes and 16 ties, the teams battled back and fourth running the score to 28-28 before Elms pulled ahead for a 29-28 lead. Determined to take the set and match, Pine Manor knotted the score again at 29-29, thanks to a kill by freshman Ashley Carusone (Nashua,NH/Nasua North). Carusone totaled 9 kills and 13 digs in the match, along with 4 aces. After knotting the score at 29, Carusone would again tie the score for the Gators at 30-30, before putting the Gators ahead with a service ace, 31-30. The Gators and Blazers would continue to exchange points before once again finding themselves deadlocked at 34-34. However, Pine Manor would falter as two hitting errors would allow Elms to capture one of the longest sets in NCAA Division III history.

Following the dramatic third set, the Gators showed their toughness battling back to take the fourth set, 25-21, and the match, 3-1, as Patch helped the Gators pull away with a string of strong serves.

“Elms put up a great fight, you have to give them a lot of credit,” said head coach Mike Murphy. “But, we stayed positive after that third set and I think that made the difference.”

Junior Stacy Croteau (Agawam, MA/Agawam) had a match-high 17 kills, while freshman Ashley Fuller (Amherst, MA/Amherst Regional) dished out 21 set assists for Elms College, who drops 6-18 on the season. Pine Manor improves to 7-15 overall, picking up its third win of the season against an opponent from the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC), having previously defeating both Mitchell College and Becker College by 3-0 margins.

The Gators now look ahead to Thursday and a match at Eastern Nazarene College. The match begins at 7 pm.

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