Story written and posted by Anthony Perry, Rivier University Sports Information Director
PLYMOUTH, N.H. & KEENE, N.H. – The Rivier University women's volleyball team returned state side this weekend and evened out their 2019 overall record with a 3-1 showing at the annual Granite State Invitational hosted by both Plymouth State University and Keene State College. The Raiders swept the opening day (Friday) before earning a split today as they are now 4-4 on the season.
Friday, September 6, 2019 @ Plymouth State University
Game One: Rivier University 3, The Sage Colleges 0 (FINAL)
The Sage Colleges didn't make it an easy sweep as they pushed the Raiders into extra points in the third set however the Raiders came away with the victory by set scores of 25-17, 25-17 and 26-24.
Three different Rivier student-athletes reached double-digits in kills as senior Jess Whyte (Plymouth, Mass.) led the charge with a .421 hitting percentage with 10 kills. Classmate Taylor Dunster (Sutton, Mass.) also collected 10 kills while sophomore Sydney Racevicius (Woodbury, Conn.) matched both Whyte and Dunster with 10 kills of her own. Sophomore Avery Pollard (Ballston Lake, N.Y.) dished out 37 assists to direct the Raider offense and Racevicius patrolled the back line with 12 digs.
Sage was guided by the all-around effort from Emma Parkington. Parkington led the charge with eight kills and picked up a team-high 8 digs. Also recording eight scoops along the back line was Megan Ryder, who also had five kills and two block assists. Courtney Formosa handed out 13 assists and Miranda Nethaway chipped in with five kills in the losing effort.
Game Two: Rivier University 3, Keene State College 1 (FINAL)
The final game of day one was a little tougher for the Raiders as the Owls pushed them to the brink in both the second and third sets before eventually falling by set scores of 25-21, 24-26, 27-25 and 25-18.
Racevicius was dominate from the start in this one as she recorded the game-high of 16 kills to go along with her 17 digs, also a game-high. Whyte continued her hot start as she added 13 kills and two total blocks while Dunster recorded nine winners. Junior Julia Zargaj (Groveland, Mass.) registered a .389 hitting percentage as she had nine kills but more importantly was a force along the net with eight total blocks (two block solos). Pollard guided the offensive attack as she notched a career-high 46 assists and matched Racevicius for the game-high of 17 digs. Freshman Oliva Garand (Litchfield, N.H.) also helped out defensively as she picked up 12 digs of her own in the four-set win.
Keene State saw Megan Palmer lead the team with nine kills and 19 digs while Olivia Mathieu scooped up the game-high of 26 digs. Ali McLoughlin was the offensive star as she hammered down 13 kills to lead the Owls and Bailey Wilson matched Palmer with 19 digs of her own.
Saturday, September 7, 2019 @ Keene State College
Game Three: Rivier University 3, Elmira College 1 (FINAL)
Rivier picked up right where they left off the night before as they defeated Elmira College, 3-1 in the opening contest of Day Two at the Granite State Invitational. The Raiders earned the four-set win by set scores of 25-19, 18-25, 25-10 and 25-21.
Racevicius was the offensive leader for Rivier as she pounded out a game-high 17 kills with Whyte and Dunster totaling 12 and 11 winners, respectively. Pollard once again directed the offensive attack with 30 assists and on the defensive side of the net, Whyte collected six total blocks (three block solos, three block assists). Garand picked up a game-high 18 digs along the back line as both Racevicius (16 digs) and Dunster (15 digs) also scooped up double-digit digs in the win. Freshman Emily Jennings ( ) also shined bright as she contributed two kills and three total blocks (two block solos) for Rivier.
Emira was paced by the efforts from Lauren Smith, who held the team-high of 13 kills in the day's opening match. Kaylene Sauschuck and Savannah Terry each added five kills for the Golden Eagles with Kassi Hastings dishing out 23 assists. Jena Gato collected the team-high of 14 digs along the backline as Hastings added 13 digs and Terry chipped in with three total blocks.
Game Four: Plymouth State University 3, Rivier University 1 (Final)
It took until the final game of the weekend before the Raiders were upended as Plymouth State was able to muscle through and win a four-set match with Rivier by set scores of 19-25, 25-23, 25-15 and 25-19.
Racevicius was the team leader again as she hammered down 13 kills and the trio of Dunster, Zargaj and Whyte each had nine kills in the loss. Pollard finished the weekend with a 36-assist performance while also registering 10 digs. Dunster was the dig leader for the Raiders as she collected 20 digs with Racevicius and Garand each adding 14 digs.
The Panthers saw Francie Shaffer guide the team to victory with a 12-kill effort and Lex Bowers added 11 kills of her own for PSU. Alexa Pace was the assist leader as she handed out 41 helpers and Alisha Flanagan gathered 21 digs in the four-set win.
Rivier will begin their seven game home-stand on Tuesday night as they host Gordon College in a 7pm non-conference contest at the Muldoon Gymnasium.