Howitt breaks record, Rose surpasses 2,500 assists in 3-2 victory at Salve

NEWPORT, RI- Wheaton College women's volleyball sophomore Miranda Howitt (San Francisco, CA/International) broke a nine-year-old program record for kills in a match, junior setter Becca Rose (Sudbury, MA/Lincoln-Sudbury Regional) became just the third Lyon to surpass 2,500 career assists, and the Blue and White posted a dramatic 3-2 (32-34, 26-24, 15-25, 25-19, 15-8) victory over host Salve Regina University at Rodgers Recreation Center on Thursday night.

Playing in its third straight five-set match and fifth of the season, Wheaton saw its overall record improve to 6-8 and its non-league mark to 6-5, while the Seahawks had their four-match winning streak come to an end in slipping to 5-9.

Howitt's 33 kills were one more than Bonnie Campbell's '01 mark, set in 2000, while Rose's career-high-tying 59 assists matched the program's fourth-highest total, which Rose accomplished as a freshman.  In addition to Howitt's and Rose's huge nights, senior Lauren Kraus' (Westboro, MA/Westboro) 12 kills moved her into sixth place on Wheaton's all-time kills list, as she is 54 shy of becoming the sixth Lyon to reach 1,000 career kills.

Sophomore Lauren McGrath (Wading River, NY/Shoreham-Wading River) joined Howitt and Kraus in recording double-figure kills, as McGrath finished with 12 on a .450 hitting percentage to go alongside her team-best five blocks.  Rose contributed 15 digs, while Howitt and Kraus accounted for 14 and 13 digs, respectively, with Kraus adding four blocks.

Sophomore Emily Davisson (Carpinteria, CA/Laguna Blanca School) paced the Lyons with 24 digs as the libero, and junior Kristen Hunt (Milford, CT/Jonathan Law) chipped in with 15.  Classmate Kaitlyn Stokes (Tewksbury, MA/Tewksbury Memorial) notched six kills, eight digs and a trio of blocks.

In an extremely tight opening set that saw neither team lead by more than four points, the squads experienced nine ties from 24-all to 32-all before the hosts scored the final two points.  After holding a 20-14 lead in the second set, the Lyons broke a 24-all tie with the final two points to draw the match even at one apiece.

Leading 10-9 in the third set, Wheaton succumbed to an 11-2 run as the hosts took a commanding 20-12 lead and an eventual 10-point win.  Following a 4-4 knot in the fourth set, the Lyons went on a 12-3 spurt to take control and force the deciding frame. 

Kraus' three kills during a 7-0 Wheaton run to start the fifth set put the contest out of reach, as the visitors eventually extended their lead to nine on three occasions.  The Seahawks cut their deficit to 14-8 before Howitt's kill proved to be the winner.

The Lyons host their second tri-match in as many Saturdays when they welcome non-conference opponents Roger Williams University and Trinity College to Emerson Gymnasium for 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. matches, respectively.

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