BOSTON – The Castleton University women's volleyball team split a pair of non-conference matches Saturday afternoon, defeating Mass Maritime in a four-set thriller before falling to Suffolk in the second match of the day.
The Spartans (5-6) dropped the opening set to Mass Maritime (1-9), 25-22, but bounced back to win three straight sets—25-22, 25-19, 25-19—for a 3-1 win. The nightcap was a three-set sweep in favor of Suffolk (9-4) as the Rams won 25-13, 25-17, 25-7.
Bre MacDuff had a big day, piling up 31 assists, 24 digs and six kills over two matches. Lizzie Goodrich racked up 14 kills and a solo block on the afternoon and Madison Hamelink added 11 kills and 25 digs for the Spartans over two contests. Layne Cronin chipped in with 13 digs and four service aces.
Castleton hit .136 as a team in the opener, racking up 39 kills and 64 digs—both season highs. The Spartans also totaled three blocks, one solo and two assisted.
Goodrich piled up 12 of her 14 kills on the day against Mass Maritime, while MacDuff posted 20 assists and 17 digs in the win. Cronin and Carley Toole each had 10 digs in the opener, giving Castleton three players with 10-plus digs in the contest. Hamelink added six kills and nine digs in the match.
After battling to the wire in the first set but coming up short, Castleton rebounded with a 25-22 win of its own in set two. Trailing by three points late, 21-18, the Spartans went on a 6-0 run behind MacDuff's service, capped by a kill from Shawna Baker to take a 24-21 lead. An error gave Mass Maritime a point, but Gabrielle Carpenter finished the game with a kill to level the score at 1-1.
The third set was a back-and-forth affair early, but Castleton again went on a lengthy run to take a commanding lead. Trailing 7-5, the Spartans rattled off six straight points to go ahead 11-7. The two sides traded points throughout before Castleton closed the set out, 25-19.
The final set of the day was all Castleton early, as the Spartans used an 11-0 run on Alissa Rathbun's service to jump ahead, 12-4. Mass Maritime did not go quietly, however, as it erased a six-point Spartan lead with a 6-0 run to tie the score, 16-16. Castleton rebounded with a pair of four-point runs to go ahead 24-17 before sealing the 3-1 win with a 25-19 victory in the fourth set.
The Spartans ran into a buzzsaw in the second match of the day, as Suffolk entered off back-to-back 3-0 sweeps of its opponents. The same held true, as the Rams made quick work of a three-set win. Hamelink led the team with five kills and 16 digs in the match, while MacDuff chipped in with 11 assists.
The Rams controlled the opening set as Castleton was never able to get momentum. The Spartans never scored more than three consecutive points, as Suffolk put an end to any runs that began en route to a 25-13 opening-set victory.
In the second set, Suffolk ran out to a 7-3 lead, but Castleton hung tough and narrowed the gap to just two points, 18-16, late in the set. The Rams closed the set strong, finishing on a 7-1 run to take the middle set, 25-17.
The finale was all Suffolk, as the Rams rattled off an 11-0 run to take a 21-5 edge. Castleton scored twice late on kills by Shannon Manchester and Ellie Frischmon, but it wasn't enough as Suffolk finished the match with a 25-7 win in the last set.
Castleton returns to action Tuesday at 7 p.m. when it hosts NVU-Lyndon at Glenbrook Gym.