McCarthy powers volleyball to four-set win over Southern N.H.

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Sparked by a strong offensive performance by junior Catie McCarthy (Broad Run, Va.), the Saint Anselm College women's volleyball team came from behind to defeat Southern New Hampshire University in four sets on Wednesday at Stoutenburgh Gymnasium.

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The Hawks (8-4, 1-0 NE10) rattled off victories in three straight sets after dropping the first stanza by a 25-16 score to Southern New Hampshire (1-7, 0-1 NE10). The Penmen sprinted out to a 25-16 first set victory after hitting .306 (15-4-36) but the Hawks recovered to take the final three sets, 25-15, 25-17 and 25-20.

McCarthy led all Hawks student-athletes with 20 kills, posting 13 digs to complete the double-double. Freshman Nique D'Ancona (Larkspur, Calif.) registered a team-high 19 digs on the evening while senior Jewel Hays (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) handed out 43 assists on her squad's 50 kills on the match.

The Hawks were overwhelmed by Southern New Hampshire in the opening set as the Penmen scored 15 of their 25 points via the kill. The Penmen opened up an 8-1 lead in the match and kept the Hawks at arm's length, growing its lead to a commanding 20-8 margin at one point. The Hawks scored eight out of 11 possible points at one point, but Southern New Hampshire cruised to the first set win, 25-16.

Saint Anselm turned the tables in the second set, riding a solid stretch of Hays serves to an 11-3 lead. McCarthy posted six kills alone in the second set with D'Ancona providing solid defense, tallying six digs from the back line.

The Hawks began to click offensively and opened up an 11-4 advantage in the third set. Sophomore Jordan Schamp (Plymouth, Mich.) came off the bench to power home five kills, lighting a spark that helped her team build a 23-13 lead that eventually culminated in a 25-17 victory.

Leading by two late in the fourth set, 18-16, the Penmen let the lead slip away with six-straight Hawks points that the visitors could not rebound from. McCarthy hammered home eight kills alone in the fourth set, which saw 11 tie scores and eight lead changes.

A pair of seniors reached career milestones on Wednesday as Gianna Bowman (Phoenix, Ariz.) appeared in her 250th career set while Sarah Lowery (Chicago, Ill.) reached 500 career kills in the victory.

The Penmen were led by 12 kills from Irem Bat. Libero Shaira Sanabria scooped up 14 digs in the losing effort.

The Hawks have a quick turnaround as they host Merrimack at 7 p.m. on Thursday.