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ECSU netters shaded

WILLIMANTIC — Grace Kenningham had a match-high 13 kills with only one error and Emiley Melillo had 37 assists and seven block assists to pace the Roger Williams University women’s volleyball team to a 3-game non-conference victory over Eastern Connecticut State University Tuesday night at Geissler Gymnasium. Games scores were 25-21, 25-23 and 25-22.

The win extends Roger Williams’ (6-2) win streak against Eastern (6-2) to four straight. The Warriors have dropped six straight games after opening the season by winning their first 12.

Melillo, 6-4 Molly Quilty and Jill McManaman combined for 18 of the Hawks’ 22 block assists, which accounted in part for Eastern’s attack percentage of .176. Following Melillo, Quilty had six block assists and McManaman five. Lara LoIacono added 10 kills and a .381 attack percentage for Roger Williams, with libero Meghan Chartier and Nicki Fallisi each digging 13 balls.

Eastern freshman Alaetra Long shared match-high kill honors with Kenningham, but attacked at only .176, while freshman Abby Stern followed with 11 assists but only a .148 attack percentage. Michelle Valliere (Lebanon) led Eastern with 11 digs, Leah Sopneski and Mckenzie Maneggia combining for 31 assists.

Additional freshmen making significant contributions were Lauren Notholt and Sydney Chomicz. Notholt had nine kills with only one error on 25 attempts and Chomicz five kills with only one error on 12 tries.

Trailing 10-8 in the first game, the Hawks out-scored Eastern 8-1 to gain the momentum with a 16-11 lead. The Warriors never trailed in the second game — leading by five throughout most of the first half — until the Hawks finally surged ahead, 19-18, for the first time, and never trailed thereafter. Eastern also had the lead throughout most of the third game — moving out to a 6-point lead at one point — and took a 2-point lead into the latter stages of the gamet, but Roger Williams erased a 22-20 deficit by scoring the final five points.

Eastern played the match without senior setter Amanda Tourjee and junior middle hitter Jackie Orlowski.

Eastern opens its Little East Conference season Saturday, hosting Keene State at noon and Salve Regina University in a non-conference match at 4 p.m.

Trio earn LEC awards

Freshman Abby Stern, a 5-10 outside hitter, repeated the Litte East Conference rookie of the week honor from a week ago after leading Eastern to a 3-1 week that included a road sweep of Eastern Nazarene College and 5-game victories over host Trinity College and Clark University at the Trinity College Invitational.

In 16 games, Stern led Eastern in kills (65) and kills per game (4.06). She had a .259 attack percentage, four service aces, 60 digs (3.75 per game) and two block assists. Stern helped Eastern end a 6-match losing streak at the hands of Clark as the Warriors won the final three games. In that match, Stern had season-highs of 29 kills (with a .368 attack percentage) and 18 digs as the Warriors posted their first 6-0 start in 16 seasons. She began the week against Eastern Nazarene with 11 kills and a .409 attack percentage and 14 digs, and only one error on 16 reception attempts.

In men’s soccer, returning first-team junior Ryan Murphy earned Little East goalkeeper of the week honors following home back-to-back 2-0 non-conference wins over Framingham State at midweek and 2016 ECAC semifinalist Ramapo College on Saturday.

Murphy made six saves in each match to lower his goals-against average to 0.25 and improve his save percentage to .958. The shutouts were the 10th and 11th for Murphy in 40 career starts.

Now 3-1 overall, Eastern hosts Anna Maria College this afternoon at Wednesday at 4 p.m. in a non-conference match at Thomas Nevers Field.

In his first year as a full-time starter, sophomore center back Nick Starkowski helped his men’s soccer Warriors to the pair of victories in front of Murphy en route to the Little East’s defensive player of the week accolades. Starkowski did not come off the field in either game and helped limit opponents to 12 shots that reached net. This year, he has started all four matches and leads the Warriors in minutes (345) and average minutes (86.3), having played all 90 minutes three times.

 

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