NEWTON, Mass. – Lasell University sophomore Kiana Perez Diaz (Juncos, P.R.) posted match highs of 21 kills and eight service aces Thursday evening, but Worcester State University outlasted the Lasers in a dramatic five-set thriller, 3-2, in non-conference women's volleyball action at the Lasell Athletic Center.
Lasell dropped the first and third sets, but came back to take the second and fourth sets. The Lasers bounced back from a 12-8 deficit in the fifth set to tie the match at 13-all, and were serving for the match at 14-13, but the Lancers would not be denied and pulled out a 17-15 decision. Set scores were 25-23, 12-25, 25-21, 23-25, 17-15.
With the win, Worcester State moves to 2-3 on the season, while Lasell drops to 2-6.
Perez Diaz also added a team-high 15 digs for the Lasers. Sophomore Meg Roberts (Newington, Conn.) smashed nine kills and nine digs, and senior Amanda DiLeonardo (West Haven, Conn.) contributed eight kills and eight digs. Sophomore Jess Langan (Burnt Hills, N.Y.) tallied 26 assists and junior Meg Carroll (Douglas, Mass.) made four blocks.
Worcester State appeared to have set one well under control with an 18-11 lead approaching the set's conclusion, but the Lasers battled back to tie it up at 21-21. Worcester State would pull through however, closing out a first set victory with a kill from sophomore Leelle Tyler (Longmeadow, Mass.).
Set two was all Lasers, as the hosts came back to even the match at a set apiece. Lasell opened the set on a 14-2 run to put it out of reach from the outset before prevailing 25-12.
The Lancers used an 8-0 run in the early stages of the third set to pull back into the lead. Lasell made things interesting by pulling to within two at the set's conclusion, but kills from sophomore Natalie Gillis (Ashland, Mass.) and Tyler closed out the set to put Worcester back on top.
Worcester State held a six-point lead early in what they hoped would be a clinching fourth set, but the lead would slip away and the Lasers forced a fifth set.
A kill from senior Stephanie Chapin (Hampden, Mass.) gave Worcester State a 12-8 lead in the fifth set and appeared to put the match out of reach in favor of the Lancers, but Lasell again battled back to take a 14-13 lead and push Worcester State to the brink. With a chance to win the match, Lasell put its serve into the net to even the score at 14-14. Worcester State took the lead at 15-14 on a bad set from Lasell, but a Worcester State attack error again squared up the match at 15-15. The Lancers claimed the match two points later on another flubbed Lasell set.
Gillis led Worcester State with a career-best 18 kills in the win, with an attack percentage of .309. Tyler finished with 10 kills, while Chapin and senior Megan Johns (Burrillville, R.I.) each finished with eight in the victory. Sophomore Brooke Lamothe (Tewksbury, Mass.) was Worcester State's defensive charge in the match with 20 digs, while senior Marissa Proia (Framingham, Mass.) finished with 14 digs and Chapin 10. Senior Katie Gagnon (Hampden, Mass.) dished out a career-best 43 assists for the Lancers.
The Lasers open Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) play this Saturday, September 13, with a tri-match at Albertus Magnus College along with Suffolk University. Worcester State will look to carry its momentum into a tri-match at Amherst College Saturday with Brandeis University.
(Contributions from Worcester State Sports Information)
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