NORTON, Mass. – The Wheaton College women's volleyball team hosted the second annual Wheaton Invitational on Saturday, where the Lyons suffered losses to Emerson (3-2), Western New England (3-0), and Eastern Connecticut State (3-0).
The Lions rallied from a two-sets-to-one deficit to defeat the Lyons, 23-25, 25-12, 25-23, 25-20, and 22-20. The Golden Bears knocked off the Lyons in three sets (25-15, 25-20, 25-18), as did the Warriors (25-23, 25-20, 25-23).
The Lyons began the day with a five-set loss to Emerson and were led offensively by junior Christina Cannon (Milford, N.H./Milford), who recorded a double-double with 12 kills and 15 digs. Sophomore Lindsay Tebbetts (Gilmanton, N.H./Gilford) chipped in with nine kills for Wheaton. Senior Megan Kaplon (Yellow Springs, Ohio/Yellow Springs) paced Emerson with 12 kills and 12 digs.
Following a five-hour break between matches, the Lyons returned to the court to face the Golden Bears of Western New England University. Tebbetts once again paced the Lyons attack with eight kills while Cannon tallied seven and senior Emily Davisson (Carpinteria, Calif./Laguna Blanca School) recorded a match-high 15 digs. Sophomore Ashley McMullen (South Bethelhem, N.Y./Ravena-Coeymaus) and freshman Kasey Cameron (Reading, Mass./Reading Memorial) each recorded 10 kills to lead WNE.
Freshman Leigh Hunt (Milford, Conn./Jonathan Law) sparked the Wheaton offense against Eastern Connecticut State as she notched a team-high six kills. Cannon finished with five while junior Olanna Nissim (Greenwich, Conn./Greenwich) recorded 16 assists, bringing her three-match total to 57. Junior Katie Wilson (Pittsburgh, Calif./Norwich Free Academy) led the Warriors with 15 kills.
"Overall, our play was a huge improvement from the Rhode Island College match," said first-year Wheaton head coach Craig Letourneau. "We moved a lot better today. We had a lull against Western New England, but you sort of expect that having to play at 10 a.m. and then at 5 p.m. We didn't get a great warm-up, and as a result, they weren't moving very well. That said, I thought we had a solid block up there all night long. We're still struggling with moving our feet, but we improved with regards to our approach to hitting.
"There are a lot of kids out there who didn't receive a lot of playing time the past few years, and we're trying to work in a number of new kids who seemed to move well today. I was really happy with how the freshman played."
In other matches, Eastern Connecticut State knocked off Western New England 3-1 behind 13 kills from senior Samantha Slonski (Griswold, Conn./Griswold) and 12 from Wilson. McMullen joined sophomores Tyler Singh (Dumont, N.J./Dumont) and Maureen Pollet (Dix Hills, N.Y./Half Hollows Hills East) with 11 kills apiece for the Golden Bears. Later, the Warriors knocked off Emerson 3-2 behind seven kills from both senior Madeleine Breeland (Fairfax, Va./W.T. Woodson) and junior Alexa Krakowiak (Westport, Conn./Staples). Slonski led all WNE student-athletes with 15 kills.
The Lyons return to action on Sept. 9 when they compete at the JWU Invitational. They open with a match against Connecticut College at 6 p.m. The Lions compete at the Western New England Tournament next Friday and Saturday, the Golden Bears host Smith on Sept. 6 at 7 p.m., and the Warriors travel to Worcester, Massachusetts to face Clark on Sept. 6 at 7 p.m.