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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Volleyball drops showdown with Eastern Nazarene, rebounds at Nichols

Courtesy of Suffolk Athletics
Junior outside hitter McKenna Keowen in a game against Baldwin Wallace on Sept. 2.

Suffolk University’s women’s volleyball team hosted the Eastern Nazarene Lions Sept. 19, riding a five-game winning streak. After winning the first set, the Rams dropped the next three, losing 3-1 to the Lions.

The Rams fell to 6-6 on the season and lost their fourth straight match to Eastern Nazarene, all under head coach Scott Blanchard.

“I was fairly happy with the way we played,” said Blanchard. “I thought we could hang with them. We made a couple of mistakes that we don’t normally make, but for the most part, I was pretty pleased with the way we played.”

The first set was a back-and-forth battle, with Eastern Nazarene going on an 8-4 run to take a 15-11 lead, prompting a timeout by Blanchard. From there, Suffolk went on runs of 5-3, 5-2 and 4-3 to win the set 25-23.

According to Blanchard, it was the serve-receive game that put Suffolk over the top in the first set.

“What happened is we ended up regaining control of our serve-receiving and serving, and when we do that we get the other team on their heels,” said Blanchard. “Once we get them scrambling around, ball control is always the key to the game, and when you know where the ball is going, it makes it pretty easy to play the game. So, if we could force the team into certain areas of attacking, that makes it pretty easy for us to defend.”

The second set was all Eastern Nazarene, with the Lions taking control early and riding the momentum to a 25-14 set win, tying the match at one set each.

To begin the third set, the teams played to a 9-9 score. The Lions pulled away from there, going on an 11-4 run to take a 20-13 lead. The Rams cut the deficit to 24-21 with an 8-3 run of their own, but a kill from Eastern Nazarene’s Maria Clarabuch gave the Lions a 25-21 win to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

Suffolk started the fourth set with a 14-9 lead before a run by the Lions tied the score 14-14. After a Suffolk timeout with the Rams trailing 18-16, the Lions scored seven of the final 13 points to win the fourth set 25-22 and win the game 3-1.

Despite dropping three straight sets, Blanchard liked the fight he saw from the Rams in the third and fourth sets to keep things competitive.

“We didn’t control the ball in set two at all. We were having a hard time in serve-receive and when we’re out of system, we’re pretty easy to beat too,” said Blanchard. “Once we got back under control and changed a couple things around, we got back into the match.”

After the loss to the Lions, Suffolk opened up Commonwealth Coast Conference play on Saturday with a road tilt against the Nichols College Bison. Blanchard was looking for the Rams to focus on their game and play at their pace.

“We’re gonna go out there and we’re gonna try to play our game,” said Blanchard. “If we can control the ball and play with the pace that we normally play at, I think we should be okay. If we don’t control the ball and we’re forced to play their game, then it could be difficult.”

The Bison won the first two sets by scores of 25-23 and 25-21, but the Rams took over from there. They won the final three sets, including a dominating 25-7 victory in the third set, to win the match 3-2.

Suffolk ends September with four matches in five days, including two on Sept. 30. They face Southern Maine at home on Sept. 26 before road matchups against Framingham State on Sept. 28 as well as Vermont State Castleton and WestConn on Sept. 30.

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About the Contributor
Michael Najarian, Asst. Sports Editor | he/him
Michael is a sophomore print/web journalism major from Framingham, Massachusetts. He’s also a member of the Cross Country and Track & Field teams. Outside of running and writing for the Journal, Michael is an avid Boston sports fan who will be seen watching sports quite frequently. After graduation, Michael is looking for a career in the sports industry. Follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelNaj3

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