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Connecticut College 3, ECSU 2 Balkin Collects 30 Digs for Camels

Connecticut College 3, ECSU 2 Balkin Collects 30 Digs for Camels

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – The Eastern Connecticut State University women's volleyball team fell short in a bid to erase a two-set deficit, as Connecticut College prevailed in a fifth set which featured 16 ties and seven lead changes.

The Camels (12-11) defeated Eastern (13-14) for the fourth straight time by scores of 25-22,  26-24, 20-25, 19-25, 20-18.

After losing the first two sets, Eastern roared back to tie the match by taking the next two before Conn broke the 16th and final tie of the fifth set on a pair of kills from sophomore Gabi Taylor (Austin, Texas).

With the exception of the Camel's 9-7 lead, neither team led by more than a point in the deciding set until Taylor's two final kills which came off sets from sophomore Kaitlin Cunningham (Ridgefield, Conn.).

Taylor had five of the team's kills in the final set and did not commit an error on nine tries in the deciding set for Conn, which started a junior, four sophomores and two freshmen. The Warriors took their final lead in the final set at 16-15 on a kill from freshman Adrianna Mihalek (Woodbury, Conn.). Eastern broke match point on a Conn service error that tied the match at 16-all. The Warriors survived match point twice before Taylor's winning kills on Mihalek kills that pulled the hosts even at 17-all, and then again at 18-all. Her tying kill at 18 was a cross-court attack from the left side that landed just inside the right sideline.

Taylor led a balanced Conn attack with 15 kills, sophomore Caroline Martin (Palo Alto, Calif.) adding 14, freshman Chloe Ainley (San Jose, Calif.) 11, junior Anelise Hohl (Atherton, Calif.) nine and freshman Ella Johnson (Seal Beach, Calif.) eight. 

Sophomore libero Jamie Balkin (Glencoe, Ill.) handled 37 receptions with only two errors and led all players with 30 digs. Martin collected 21 digs and senior Erin Barker (Edwards, Colo.) 15. Ainley also had three blocks and Johnson two.  Cunningham had 55 assists.

Mihalek led all players in the match with 21 kills, six coming in the final set.  Freshman Kay Mullen (Fairhaven, Mass.) followed with 13 kills and senior Nicki Gasch (New Fairfield) had 12. Sophomore libero Allie Luppi (Tewksbury, Mass.) received 37 serves with just two errors and led all players in the match with 31 digs. Mihalek dug up 23 balls and senior Erynn Miller (Stratford) had 20 digs and was perfect on 19 reception attempts. Junior Jess Patrizi (Beacon Falls) added 13 digs and recorded 46 assists. Freshman Amanda Tyler (Longmeadow, Mass.) chipped in six kills and 11 digs and commited only one reception error on 15 attempts.

Camel Tracks (Not Including Tuesday Night's Action)

Sophomore Caroline Martin (Palo Alto, Calif.) averaged 2.75 kills, 3.08 digs and 0.42 blocks/set this week for the Camels. Martin posted double-doubles in all three matches. She had 11 kills and 11 digs in a close loss to the Coast Guard Friday. The Camels will close out conference play this Friday night with a 7:00 p.m. home match against Colby. 

 The Camels are a perfect 9-0 in Luce Field House this fall. Martin is averaging 2.73 kills per set to rank #11 in the league. Chloe Ainley (San Jose, Calif.) has buried 196 kills and ranks third in the league with 65 blocks. Balkin has registered 235 digs. The NESCAC Championship Quarterfinal matches  will be played Friday, November 8 at the site of the #1 seed.