RINDGE, N.H. (September 15, 2017) – The Franklin Pierce University volleyball team played in front of their home crowd for the first time this year, but suffered a 3-0 (19-25, 23-25, 16-25) defeat at the hands of non-conference opponent the University of Bridgeport on Friday evening in a hot and humid Fieldhouse environment. With the win, the Purple Knights improve their mark to 2-7 overall while the loss sends the Ravens to 2-7.
The guests hit at a .299 clip during the match as they had two players with double digit kills. Amanda Hennemann led all athletes with 15 kills to go along with nine digs and Bruna Santos recorded 12 kills, a .478 hitting percentage and eight digs.
For FPU, senior captain Hannah St. Jean (Olympia, Wash.) paced the Raven attack with nine kills, four total blocks and a .375 percentage. Freshman outside hitter Ofeira Petaia (Honolulu, Hawaii) chipped in six kills, five digs and a block while libero Jocelyn Moody (Biddeford, Maine) tallied a team-high 14 digs. Newcomer Mary Pease (East Haddam, Conn.) racked up a squad-best 15 helpers to go along with three digs and two kills.
The Purple Knights jumped ahead early 3-0 using two solo blocks by Sheri Middleton. Franklin Pierce got on the board when junior outside hitter Brittney Carias (Burlingame, Calif.) rose up from the left side and rocked the ball off a diving Purple Knight who tried to keep the ball in play. Carias' kill led to three in a row by the Ravens as St. Jean knotted the score at four all with a solo stuff.
Following a UB service error to put the Ravens within one at 9-8, the guests tallied five straight before a sideout occurred as Pease successfully set the ball for Petaia, who swatted the ball through the middle to cut the deficit to 14-9. The Ravens brought the shortage to four at 15-11 on the strength of a St. Jean block, but four consecutive points by Bridgeport reupped their lead to 19-11. The Ravens made it a five point set at 24-19, but Hennemann ended the Raven comeback and wrapped up the first set victory for her team.
Franklin Pierce hit a set-high .229 in the second set while the Purple Knights could only hit .179. The second set was a back and forth battle through the first couple of serves until the Ravens took a two possession lead by using a Petaia kill and dual block from the former and St. Jean. The Crimson and Grey built their lead to three at 10-7 following a service error and Petaia ace. Bridgeport would bring their disadvantage down to one at 11-10, but the Ravens scored three straight which included a double stuff on the right side by Pease and sophomore middle blocker Abigail Garnhart (Colorado Springs, Colo.) which led to a Purple Knight timeout.
The Raven momentum continued after the timeout as they increased their advantage to 18-12. Bridgeport responded with a run of their own as they brought the second set deficit down to two at 19-17 following an attack error that hit the net. Pierce held the lead until another Raven miscue into the twine tied the score at 20 all. St. Jean would respond by rolling to her right and skying high to bash the ball into the floor to give the Ravens the one point 21-20 lead. The teams kept trading possessions until Danielle Varricchio (Boynton Beach, Fla.) regained the score for FPU at 23-22. Bridgeport would induce a sideout and collect a point to tie the score once again and they would never relinquish the led as Emily Burford clinched the set with a kill from the right side.
In set three, the Ravens held the lead at 6-4 as they used back to back kills from Petaia to move ahead. Three in a row from UB put their squad up 7-6. The Purple Knights thought they would put the set away with a 13-1 scoring binge to up their lead to 20-8, but the Ravens came storming back to make it a seven point set following blocks by Varricchio and St. Jean. Burford would end the match with the 25th and final point.
The Ravens remain home in the friendly confines of The Fieldhouse tomorrow when they begin Northeast-10 Conference play versus Merrimack College at 2:00 p.m.
For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu). Also be sure to follow the Ravens through the Department of Athletics' official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens), its YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/franklinpiercesports) and its Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/FPUathletics). Fans wishing to purchase Franklin Pierce volleyball apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu/store).