NORTON, MA- Senior Lauren Kraus (Westboro, MA/Westboro) landed kills for three of her team's final four points, helping the Wheaton College women's volleyball team complete a comeback from a two-set deficit during its 3-2 (19-25, 22-25, 25-20, 25-19, 16-14) Homecoming weekend win over Eastern Connecticut State University on Friday in Emerson Gymnasium. The 10-8 Lyons, who have won six times in eight five-set matches this year, extended their win streak to five. The Warriors have lost six of seven in slipping to 7-9. It was the teams' 16th meeting, but the first in Norton.
Sophomore Miranda Howitt (San Francisco, CA/International) led Wheaton with 15 kills while adding 10 digs, and classmate Lauren McGrath (Wading River, NY/Shoreham-Wading River) turned in eight kills and five blocks. Kraus had six kills while also dropping in seven service aces and recording four blocks, as she is six kills shy of becoming the sixth Lyon with 1,000 in a career.
Freshman Olanna Nissim (Greenwich, CT/Greenwich) totaled six kills and 10 digs, while classmate Rachel Vergara (Needham, MA/Needham) tallied six kills and five blocks. Junior Becca Rose (Sudbury, MA/Lincoln-Sudbury Regional) contributed 40 assists and 14 digs, while sophomore Emily Davisson (Carpinteria, CA/Laguna Blanca School) and junior Kristen Hunt (Milford, CT/Jonathan Law) collected 14 and 13 digs, respectively.
For Eastern Connecticut State, sophomore Britt Carrier (Southington, CT/Southington) had a big performance with 16 kills and 24 digs, while classmate Kristianna Ibsen (Shelton, CT/Shelton) turned in 11 kills and five blocks. Sophomore Samantha Slonski (Griswold, CT/Griswold) had 44 assists, 15 digs, four aces and three blocks, while classmate Taylor Abelli (Cheshire, CT/Cheshire) and senior Ashley Tuggle (South Windsor, CT/South Windsor) turned in 21 and 13 digs, respectively.
In the final set of the match, Wheaton grabbed a trio of two-point leads before a 3-0 Warrior run put them in front at 10-9, the first of three one-point edges the visitors took late. However, a tandem block by Kraus and Vergara knotted the match at 12, and ensuing Kraus kills twice gave the Lyons brief one-point leads. After another Kraus kill made it 15-14, Howitt's kill clinched the come-from-behind victory.
During each of the first two sets, Eastern Connecticut State pulled out of a late tie to capture a victory. In the opener, two aces and a kill by Slonski keyed a 7-1 run that snapped an 18-all deadlock. After Wheaton rallied from a 14-4 deficit to eventually lead 21-20 in the second set, Carrier dropped a kill to cap a 5-1 run that give the visitors a 2-0 lead.
The Lyons scored eight straight points, including four on Kraus aces, to turn a two-point hole into an 11-5 lead in the third set, and McGrath and Nissim went up for a block at set point that finished a 4-1 run. In the fourth, the Lyons used a 6-0 run to nab a 13-10 advantage, with Vergara tallying two kills and two blocks during that time. The Warriors came no closer than one point, and the teams stood tied at two.
The Lyons are back in action on Tuesday at New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) foe Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at 7:00 p.m. The Engineers are ranked eighth in the latest New England Women's Volleyball Association (NEWVA) poll.