SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Senior Catie McCarthy (Warrenton, Va.) of the Saint Anselm College volleyball team tallied 37 kills on the day to power the Hawks to a straight set victory over Assumption before a four-set win over the host Yellow Jackets from American Internatlonal College on Friday.
The Hawks improve to 6-5 on the year while extending their winning streak to six games, their longest streak since 2017. With the straight set win over Assumption to open the day, Head Coach Braden Zamore becomes the program's all-time wins leader with 68 to his credit. Passing legendary Granite State head coach Lloyd Sheehan on the all-time Hawks leaderboard, Zamore has guided Saint Anselm to its first-ever trips to the NCAA Division II Tournament and three consecutive appearances in the Northeast-10 Conference postseason since joining the squad in 2015.
McCarthy had a season-high 23 kills on 55 swings in the 3-1 triumph over the Yellow Jackets, matching the program's single game record for kills in a four set match. She was one kill away from not only tying her career-best 24 kills, but also reaching 900 kills in her stellar four-year career. McCarthy's 23 kills were her fourth time in her career that she registered 20 or more kills in a single game.
Freshman Caroline Belmontez (San Diego, Calif.) set a new career-high of 23 digs in the same contest. Against the hosts, junior Elise Jolly (Merrimack, N.H.) posted her 10 kills on 24 swings. As a team, the Hawks recorded their highest digs amount this season (79) in the win over American International.
Saint Anselm would start off strong against the Greyhounds, hitting .462 with 16 kills and just two errors on 31 attempts to close out the opener. The Hawks began with a 11-8 advantage before Assumption won five of the next seven points to even it at 13-13. Assumption would break the tie with three straight points of its own and held a 16-13 lead. Following a Saint Anselm timeout, the Hawks would score the next 12 of 17 points to earn the 25-21 victory.
Senior Madison Sollows (Barnstable, Mass.) had two kills in an early 8-4 run. Assumption would generate a push of its own, winning the next seven of eight points, en route to taking a 11-9 advantage. Three kills by three different Hawks' student-athletes would bring the Hawks to a 16-13 lead. With the lead, freshman Michelle Henwood (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) would nail down two kills to contribute in the squad's 9-5 run to close the second set out, 25-19.
Alana Hruska sent two kills down early in the third as part of a 6-4 start to the set for Assumption. The Hawks made another run on McCarthy's attacks midway through the set to regain and extend their lead to 14-11. Saint Anselm held control by at least two points for the rest of the way and won eight of the final 12 points to finish the match with a sweep.
Facing the host Yellow Jackets in the night cap, American International would start by building an early 7-4 lead in the opening set. The Hawks would battle back to tie at 10-10. Both teams traded blows until the Hawks would score the next five points, four of them by kills. That run gave the Hawks a 20-17 lead. The Yellow Jackets responded with three straight points to even the set at 20-20. Led by McCarthy's two kills and a Sollows slam, the Hawks would go on to win 25-21.
After an early 9-6 lead, the Hawks would hold onto the lead until the second set was knotted up at 24-24. The Yellow Jackets would rally late and even the match up at 1-1 with Andrea Serra getting the final kill of the set. American International started the third by taking a 10-6 lead, but the Hawks won 12 of next 17 points to earn an 18-15 advantage. With momentum on their side, the Hawks would end the match on a 6-3 run with McCarthy recording two kills in the surge.
The Hawks would narrowly lead midway through the fourth set with a 14-13 lead. Saint Anselm would go on a 7-5 run to have a 21-18 advantage. American International extended the set, earning five of the next six points to bring the fourth set to 23-22. Sophomore Nique D'Ancona (Corte Madera, Calif.) would sub in and clinched the victory with a kill.
Saint Anselm is back at it on day two of the tournament on Saturday, Sept. 21 for rematches against Felician at 11 a.m. and Bridgeport at 5 p.m.