PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Wesleyan University volleyball team hit .290 with 55 kills to defeat Kean University, 3-1, in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Division III Championships on Friday afternoon on the campus of Johnson & Wales. The Cardinals won by scores of 25-14, 25-9, 23-25, and 25-20 to reach the Regional Semifinals for the second year in a row.
Three players recorded double-digit kills for Wesleyan as Second Team All-NESCAC selection Mia Hogan led the way with 14. Nicole Hilton – the 2017 NESCAC Player of the Year – totaled 12 and Mia Jago registered 11 with an incredible .667 attack clip.
- In the first set, the Cougars scored three-straight points to get within one, down 14-13. However, Wesleyan rallied with an impressive 10-0 run to put the match out of reach and a kill by Hogan sealed the victory.
- The Cardinals' momentum carried over into the second frame as Wesleyan scored the first seven points. It was never close from that point on as the Cardinals cruised to a commanding 25-9 win to go ahead, 2-0. Wesleyan only had one error en route to the victory.
- It was a different story in the third. Both teams traded points early until Kean went on a 4-0 run to pull ahead, 10-7. The Cougars led the rest of the way despite Wesleyan cutting the deficit to one on multiple occasions. Down 24-20, the Cardinals rallied with three-straight points but an error led to a 25-23 victory for Kean.
- Wesleyan bounced back in the fourth and jumped out to a 5-1 lead. The Cardinals led the rest of the way and used a 4-0 run to go ahead, 23-17, essentially putting the match out of reach. A kill from Hilton gave Wesleyan the 25-20 win and the match.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Kaira Muraoka-Robertson dished out 47 assists for the Cardinals while also recording nine digs. The defense was led by First Team All-NESCAC selection, Phia Bellizzi, who finished with 25 digs. In addition to her 12 kills, Hilton also registered five blocks.
- Kean was led offensively by Jesse Larkin, Zoe Strozewski and Brianna Calvano. Larkin and Strozewski tallied 13 and 10 kills, respectively, and Calvano dished out 33 assists while recording 13 digs. Kortnee Nelson led the defense with 17 digs, and Strozewksi and Brett Harper tallied four block assists each.
- Wesleyan will play the winner of Springfield (23-7) vs. Maine Maritime (22-6) tomorrow at 2:30 p.m.