Vassar Knocks Off Kean In Three Sets

POUGHKEEPSIE – On Friday night, the Vassar College women’s volleyball team’s offense came to play. The Brewers (9-6) hit a combined .304 (27 kills, six errors, 69 attempts) in the first two sets of a 25-23, 25-17, 25-23 triumph over Kean (12-7) at Kenyon Hall.

“The hitting was an offshoot of us just finding our rhythm a little bit,” Head Coach Jonathan Penn said. “We talked earlier that if we take care of everything else, the volleyball will happen. And it did.”

After the Brewers jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first set, Kean rallied to knot the score at 14-14. Vassar scored three of the next four points to regain its advantage, but the Cougars countered with a 4-1 spurt to go up 19-18. Sara Ehnstrom responded with a kill, though, as the Brewers went on a 4-1 rally of their own to regain a two-point edge. Jennifer Kerbs smacked a kill to get Vassar to set point, and a kill by Lauren Ninkovich capped off the 25-23 win.

In the second set, Vassar posted a .333 (12-2-30) hitting percentage. The Brewers opened up an early 8-2 cushion, then used another 4-0 run to extend the margin to 16-8. A Jane McLeod kill gave Vassar its first set point opportunity before Kerbs ripped a kill to end the frame, 25-17, and give the Brewers a 2-0 lead in the match.

Kean scored the first four points of the third set, but Vassar gradually chipped away at that advantage, eventually pulling even at 16-16. With the Cougars in front 19-18, a Kerbs kill started a 5-0 Vassar rally that brought the Brewers within two points of victory. After Kean fought off three match points, libero Anna Zucchero was credited with a kill when her free ball found the floor, ending the set, 25-23, and the contest, 3-0.

“You always want to come back against a team that you lost to,” Penn said, referring to the Brewers’ 3-1 loss to Kean on Sept. 8. “But, honestly, I think they just wanted to play well together tonight. I don’t think it had a lot to do with who was on the other side of the net.”

Kerbs led the Brewers with 10 kills on .381 hitting. She also recorded five blocks. Devan Gallagher had eight kills and eight digs, while McLeod tallied seven kills. Annie MacMillan finished with 33 assists and eight digs, and Zucchero was credited with a team-best 19 digs. For the match, the Brewers hit .192 (36-13-120) as a team.

Brett Harper had a double-double for Kean with 10 kills and 10 digs. Andrea Antal added eight kills, and Brianna Calvano dished out 29 assists. Kortnee Nelson returned a match-high 22 digs, as the Cougars held a 56-54 edge in that category. Kean was held to a team hitting percentage of .125 (36-21-120).

Vassar now has a week off before continuing its five-match homestand with a pair of Liberty League tilts next weekend. The Brewers (1-1 Liberty) host St. Lawrence (11-5, 0-2 Liberty) at 7 p.m. on Friday, then welcome Clarkson (7-7, 0-2 Liberty) to Kenyon Hall next Saturday at 2 p.m.

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