Volleyball Ends Season with Sweep of Albertus Tri-Match

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Pine Manor College closed out its 2010 season by winning both matches at a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) tri-match on Saturday October 30. The Gators defeated St. Joseph College of Connecticut, 3-0 (25-19, 25-14, 25-17), before earning a 3-1(20-25, 25-15, 25-14, 25-21) victory over host Albertus Magnus College. With the victories, Pine Manor finishes the season with a 10-15 overall record and a 3-9 record in GNAC play.

Pine Manor's first match of the day came against St. Joseph College. Led by 11 kills and 3 service aces from junior Jennifer Gross (Coral Springs, FL/Coral Glades) the Gators took the match in straight sets, 3-0. After falling 3-2 to Albertus Magnus in the first match of the day, St. Joseph College was looking to rebound in its second match, but in the end the Gators proved too much for the Blue Jays.

After taking the first set 25-19, Pine Manor pulled away for an impressive 25-14 victory in the second set before finishing off the match with a 25-17 victory. Freshman Imara Jackson (Malden, MA/Mystic Valley Charter) had 8 kills for Pine Manor while freshman Gloria Lara (South Boston, MA/East Boston) and Megan Patch (Bethpage, TN/Red Boiling Springs) both put down 3 service aces for the Gators. Patch also finished the match with 29 set assists. Sophomore Alie Johnston (Winnipeg, Manitoba/River East Collegiate) and freshman Ashley Carusone (Nashua,NH/Nasua North) each had 14 digs to lead the Gator defense.

Freshman Amanda Dondero (Mastic, N.Y.) had four kills while junior Michelle DiPinto (Burlington, Conn.) contributed three for Saint Joseph College, who finishes the season at 2-25.

Following the victory over St. Joseph, Pine Manor entered the final match of its 2010 season with its sights set on winning its fourth match in a row. However, Albertus Magnus had other plans. The Falcons gained early control of the match taking the first set, 25-20. Senior Diedre Brown (Jamaica, NY/HS for Law Enforcement) had six kills for the Falcons in her final collegiate match and Junior Elizabeth Williams (West Haven, CT/Hyde Leadership) led Albertus with nine kills while providing strong play at the net throughout the match.

Following the first set defeat, Pine Manor would respond. Despite being faced with an early deficit, the Gators raced out to take the second set by a 25-15 margin before taking the third set in an even more impressive fashion, 25-14. Pine Manor again got out to an early lead in the fourth, and eventually final, set before Albertus rallied to make the score 24-21 in favor of the Gators. Following a quick timeout by head coach Mike Murphy, the Gators captured the set, and the match, thanks to an Albertus hitting error.

Johnston led all players with 18 kills against Albertus, following a seven kill performance in the early game against Saint Joseph. Gross tallied 13 kills and led Pine Manor with 4 service aces, while Carusone once again was the Gators dig leader, collecting 24 digs as Pine Manor was successful in earning its fourth consecutive victory to close out the 2010 season.

Megan Patch finished off her stellar rookie year with another stand-out performance as the freshman setter dished out her second highest set assist total of the season, finishing the match with 37.

Following the match, head coach Mike Murphy was proud of how his young Pine Manor team finished the season. "Going on the road to win four straight matches to close out the season was awesome for a team of mostly underclassmen," said Murphy. "Winning on the road is always difficult. We had to play some long matches during our last week but this team fought hard and never gave up. Even when they fell behind, they battled back and showed the same resilience that they did all year."

Murphy would move on to reflect on his first collegiate season as a head coach and how far the program had come in 2010. "We showed great promise this season. To finish 10-15 is a great achievement when you look at where the program was just a year ago. We took a lot of steps in the right direction, including picking up a couple more conference wins at the end of the season. Next season, we look forward to building on the strong foundation that we built this year."

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