DANBURY, CT – Rookie Ali Brochu (Winsted, CT) tallied a team-high 13 kills, while junior Kamari King (East Hartford, CT) and rookie Nicolina Chenard (Ardsley, NY) chipped in with 12 and 11, respectively, to lead the Western Connecticut State University women's volleyball team to a thrilling 3-2 (25-23, 25-17, 22-25, 17-25, 15-13) victory over the University of Southern Maine in its Little East Conference opener at Feldman Arena on Saturday afternoon. The Colonials returned to action later in the day and fell to visiting non-league foe Kean University, 3-0 (25-15, 25-23, 25-20). Kean would also down Southern Maine, 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-18).
The hosts jumped out to an early two-set advantage in the LEC opener versus the Huskies. However, the visitors rebounded to even the count at 2-2, forcing a final fifth set. In the final frame, the Colonials jumped out to seize an 11-5 lead before Southern Maine put together yet another rally. The Huskies would slice the advantage to 14-13 on a hitting error from the Colonials. However, Brochu sealed the win, smashing one to the floor off a feed from junior Jenna Skerritt (Wolcott, CT).
Southern Maine then squared off against Kean but could not rebound from their tough opening loss. Sophomore Jesse Larkin (Redwood City, CA) and junior Brett Harper (Vero Beach, FL) paced the Cougars with eight kills apiece, while sophomore Brianna Calvano (Williamstown, NJ) dished out a match-high 36 assists. The Huskies were led by senior Jess Williamson (Goffstown, NH) who notched a match-high nine floors.
Kean proved to be a formidable opponent in the final match of the afternoon. The Cougars breezed through the first set before the Colonials came to life. WestConn began the second frame with a 6-1 run. However, the Colonials were unable to hold the advantage as the Cougars retaliated to capture an 8-6 lead on their way to the victory.
"It was great getting our first conference win of the season. We showed we are capable of a strong finish. I'm a bit disappointed we didn't win the second set against a tough Kean team. Rookies Nyilah Horton and Victoria Korzan really stepped up in the absence of two key starters," said WestConn head coach Don Ferguson following the split.
The Colonials wrapped up action, moving to 4-8 overall and 1-0 in conference play, while Southern Maine went to 5-4 and 0-1. Kean improved to 7-4 overall.
WestConn has a short layoff before returning to the floor Saturday, September 23 against visiting LEC rival UMass-Boston on Saturday at 1 p.m.