SALEM, Mass. – The UMass Dartmouth volleyball team won its first two matches for the first time since 2012, starting off the Clint Whelan era with a 3-0 win over Lesley and a 3-1 victory over Salem State at a tri-match on Saturday.
Score: UMass Dartmouth 3, Lesley 0 | UMass Dartmouth 3, Salem State 1
Records: UMass Dartmouth 2-0 | Lesley 1-2 | Salem State 1-1
How it Happened
The Corsairs improved with every set in the season opener against Lesley before a convincing comeback against the Vikings. After dropping the opening set, UMass Dartmouth upended the Vikings in the next three frames to take the match.
UMass Dartmouth 3, Lesley 0
Freshman Anita Sengara (Vancouver, British Columbia) made her Corsair debut in powerful fashion, pacing her team with 10 kills in the opener on a .217 hitting percentage. UMass Dartmouth managed just a .085 hitting percentage in the first set, taking a 25-20 win, but improved significantly in the next two, winning 25-18 and 25-15.
Sengara and three other newcomers combined for 13 service aces against the Lynx. Freshman libero Jillian Sykora (Waterford, Conn.) was a rock in the Corsair backcourt, posting 20 digs to go along with a game-high four aces. Offensively, freshman Jordan Rittberger (Huntington, N.Y.) fed the Corsair hitters with 20 assists and senior Kayla Kirby (Westport, Mass.) tacked on an additional six kills.
UMass Dartmouth 3, Salem State 1
Salem State came out swinging in the second game, taking the first set 25-18 with 11 kills, but senior Christina Spinazola (Medway, Mass.) and the Corsairs found their pace in the second game to sneak by with a 25-21 win. UMass Dartmouth closed the door in sets two and three, winning 25-11 and 25-17, respectively.
Spinazola stunned the Viking backcourt with 12 service aces, including seven in the second set. The setter also fueled her hitters to 17 assists, helping Sengara improve to 11 kills on the game. Kirby again tallied six kills, hitting .286, while sophomore Olivia Wallett (Willington, Conn.) also tacked on six to go along with three solo blocks. Defensively, Sykora added 17 digs to her day total and freshman Nicole Silverman (Chelmsford, Mass.) registered seven.
Inside the Numbers
- Spinazola's 12 service aces against Salem State was a new career-high, bettering her previous mark of eight.
- UMass Dartmouth posted a .152 attack percentage on the day, bettering their opponents' average of .077.
- The serving game was a difference-maker all day, with the Corsairs totaling 31 aces to Lesley and Salem State combining for just nine.
- The Corsairs are 2-0 for the first time since 2012, when they defeated Mount Ida and Salve Regina in their first two contest.
UMass Dartmouth is sticks to the road on Wednesday, traveling to Worcester State to meet the Lancers at 7 p.m. before opening at home next Saturday.