UMass-Lowell advances to semis
River Hawks’ Merrill had a double-double to lead winning effort
WEST HAVEN, Conn. -- No. 8 seed Massachusetts-Lowell stunned top-seeded New Haven, 3-1 on Tuesday night in the opening round of the Northeast-10 Championship. The River Hawks are just the second NE-10 team to defeat the Chargers (21-6) since they joined the conference in 2008.
The match scores were 25-17, 24-26, 25-21 and 25-20.
The River Hawks grabbed command of the match early, forcing New Haven timeouts at 15-9 and 21-13 en route to a 25-17 win, stunning the Chargers on their home floor. Freshmen Ella Merrill and Anisa Smith led the offense with four kills each. New Haven struggled with accuracy, recording almost as many attack errors (8) as kills (9).
|Northeast-10 Quarterfinal results|
|Stonehill 3, Southern Connecticut 1|
|Adelphi 3, Pace 0|
|Saint Rose 3, American International 0|
|• Conference Championship Central|
UMass-Lowell had a much more difficult time in the second set, battling to a 24-26 loss. Merrill was a force again, landing five kills, while Trina Carroll had four kills and an ace. With the score locked at 24-24, the Chargers' Keidy Candelaria scored a kill, followed by a River Hawk attack error to seal the set.
After trailing for much of the third, the River Hawks staged a late comeback, keyed by consecutive aces from Brooke Peterson to steal the lead at 23-21. A kill by Lea Freeman pushed it to set point and a bad set by Chelsey Alpough granted UMass-Lowell the 2-1 match advantage.
The River Hawks kept up the pressure, leaning on the Chargers until they cracked in a 25-20 victory. UMass-Lowell picked on New Haven's weaknesses, serving five aces and letting the Chargers commit six attack errors. Merrill picked up three kills and two aces to lead the River Hawks to match clinching victory.
Merrill finished the night with a team-high 14 kills, while adding 11 digs and two aces. Freeman also cracked double-digits with 13 kills and four total blocks.
UMass Lowell was crisp in the passing game as setter Kristina Wiltjer dished out 37 assists and dug nine balls. Libero Carolyn Eddy tied for the match-high with 16 digs and was nearly flawless on service receptions.