Women's Volleyball: Raiders split opening day in the Granite State Challenge

Women's Volleyball: Raiders split opening day in the Granite State Challenge

(Nashua, N.H.) The Rivier University Women's Volleyball team officially began their home portion of the 2018 schedule as they hosted the first day of the annual Granite State Challenge. The 9-game, three-site, two-day invitational started off with the Raiders suffering a tough five-set loss to Rochester Institute of Technology. RIT followed with an impressive showing against Keene State College and to close out the night at the Muldoon, Rivier topped the Owls in five-sets.

Game One: Rochester Institute of Technology 3, Rivier University 2 (Final)

The first match was one for the ages as Rochester Institute of Technology battled back and defeated Rivier in five-sets. Rivier jumped out to a 2-1 lead before RIT clawed back and stole the final two sets for the match win. RIT won by set scores of 21-25, 25-21, 25-27, 25-18 and 15-13.

Senior setter Hayley Macken (Clifton Park, N.Y.) was electric for the Raiders as she accumulated a .438 hitting percentage on nine kills to go along with her 37 assists, four digs and two total blocks. Freshman Sydney Racevicius (Woodbury, Conn.) was the beneficiary of Macken as she hammered down a team-high 12 kills and graduate Courtney Collins (Derry, N.H.) smashed 11-kills in the loss. Racevicius also tallied the team high with 17 digs and classmate Leah Giampietro (Coventry, R.I.) garnered 16 digs along the back line for the Raiders. Freshman Avery Pollard (Ballston Lake, N.Y.) chipped in with six-service aces and 14 digs while junior Taylor Dunster (Sutton, Mass.) scooped up 10 digs and 8 kills.

The Tigers, who improved to 3-2 with the win, were guided by freshman Katie Hobler's (Rochester, N.Y.) 18-kill effort. Senior setter Erin Parkinson (Carrollton, Texas) directed the offense with a game-high 47 assists and junior libero Maria Simonetti (Rochester, N.Y.) patrolled the defensive side of the ball with 19 digs. Sophomore Taylor Higgins (Peru, N.Y.) had an all-around solid opening game with 12-kills, 16-digs and 2-block solos. Junior Kelly Waters (Burnt Hills, N.Y.) was the other Tiger to reach double-figures in kills with 10.

Game Two: Rochester Institute of Technology 3, Keene State College 1 (Final)

The Tigers kept the momentum rolling into their second game as they finished the night 2-0 after a four-set win against Keene State College. RIT (4-2 overall) won by set scores of 22-25, 25-17, 25-14 and 25-12.

Higgins paced the offensive attack in the nightcap as she finished with 13-kills and the rookie Hobler added 12-kills while Sara Taylor swung at a .562 clip to finish with 10-kills. Parkinson topped 40+ assists as she handed out 44 and collected the team-high of 15 digs. Junior Shelby Doheny (Moreau, N.Y.) shined bright as she obtained a total of eight-kills and four total blocks. Sophomore Paige Dailey (Allison Park, Pa.) chipped in with 12 digs in the win for the Tigers.

Keene State was led by junior Olivia Mathieu (Derry, N.H.) and sophomore Megan Palmer (East Islip, N.Y.), who each had 8-kills with junior Kelly Hunt (Milford, Conn.) swatting down seven kills and three total blocks. Senior Riley Bunker (Simi Valley, Calif.) was the dig leader with 16-digs and junior Kait West (Hopkinton, Mass.) chimed in defensively with 15-digs. Sophomore setter Bailey Wilson (Moorpark, Calif.) passed out 30 helpers and Mathieu also scooped up 13 digs in the loss.

Game Three: Rivier University 3, Keene State College 2 (Final)

Playing late into the night, the Raiders were able to hold on for a five-set victory to close out the first day of action at the Granite State Challenge. Rivier took the match by set scores of 25-15, 25-17, 15-25, 19-25 and 15-11.

Dunster ignited the offensive attack for Rivier as she finished with a team-high 15 kills to go along with her 18 digs. Racevicius was step-for-step with Dunster as she contributed 14 kills and a team-high 21 digs on the night while junior Jessica Whyte (Plymouth, Mass.) hammered down 12 kills and a .345 hitting percentage. Macken piloted the offense with her first 50 assist game of the season and Pollard picked up 14 digs along the back line in the win.

The Owls saw Palmer atop the leaderboard with 13 kills and senior Niamh Dodd (Mahopac, N.Y.) knock down nine-kills as they fall to 4-3 on the season. Wilson directed the offense with 29 assists while Bunker totaled 17 digs.

Day Two of the Granite State Challenge will be held tomorrow at Keene State College. The Raiders (2-4 overall) will battle with New England College (2pm) and Plymouth State University (4pm). Rochester Institute of Technology will take on Plymouth State (12pm) and Elmira (2pm) while Keene State hosts Elmira (12pm) and New England College (4pm).

Other site results (games played at New England College):

Elmira 3, New England College 0 (Final)
Plymouth State 3, Elmira 2 (Final)
Plymouth State 3, New England College 0 (Final)