Fort Lauderdale, FL – The Merrimack volleyball team opened the 2012 season dropping a pair of matches by the score of 3-0 on Friday afternoon in the Sharks Classic being held in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The Warriors dropped the opening match to the host Nova Southeastern Sharks and the second to the Wayne State Warriors.
Game scores against Nova Southeastern were 9-25, 21-25, 19-25
The Warriors fell behind in the first set of 2012 by the score of 14-7 and could not recover from there, falling 25-9 to the Sharks. Sophomore Stephanie Sheehan (Smithtown, NY) led the way for the Warriors in the first set with three kills.
Merrimack started off the second set of the match with the 1-0 lead as Jenna Reilly (Northport, NY) recorded a kill after a perfect set from Allison Cote (Chelmsford, Mass.). The Warriors however would trail the Sharks until they tied the score at 18 later in the set forcing a timeout by their opponents. Aliya Winker (Arlington, VA) gave the Warriors a two point advantage at 21-19 but they were unable to hold onto the lead, falling 25-21 in the second set.
Merrimack opened the third set with the 3-1 lead behind two kills by Sheehan but they could not hold off the host team, being outscored 19-11, giving the Sharks the 20-12 advantage. The Warriors closed out the match on a 7-5 run but it was not enough, dropping the third set 25-19.
Merrimack was led Sheehan who finished the match with eight kills and 10 digs while Reilly contributed with six kills and a team-high four digs in the loss. Cote finished off the first match of the season with a team-high 20 assists and three digs while fellow sophomore Corrine Gosselin (Lawrence, Mass.) put together a complete effort with three kills, three assists, two digs and a block.
For the game, Merrimack recorded 24 assists on 25 kills while compiling three service aces by three different players and eight total blocks. Nova Southeastern recorded an attack percentage of .213 for the game while the Warriors attack percentage was .063, proving to be the difference in the match.
The Sharks had two players record double digit kills as Dana Holger led all players with 11 and Danielle Graham had 10. Jordan Pappas led all players on the afternoon with 27 assists while also recording two service aces for the Sharks.
"Against Nova Southeastern I believe that our nerves were a big part of the 3-0 defeat," said second-year head coach TJ Hajjar. "We played pretty well for the most part against Wayne State in our second match today and we are excited to get back out there tomorrow and see what kind of improvements we can make."
Game scores against Wayne State were 15-25, 20-25, 16-25
Leading the way for the Warriors in the second match was Reilly who recorded a team-high six kills and added one block. Freshman Madison Burke (San Jose, Calif.) closed out her second collegiate match with a team-high 10 digs in the loss.
Merrimack jumped out to the quick 2-0 lead early on in the first set after back-to-back attack errors by Wayne State. The Warriors however could not hold onto the lead very long as they never held the lead again in the set, falling 25-15.
The Warriors opened up the second set on a 5-0 run after back-to-back service aces by Jackie Jones (Amherst, NH) but Wayne State battled back as they finished off the set with an attack percentage of .280, highest during any set for either team.
The third set was dominated by the Wayne State Warriors as they closed out the match with a 25-16 victory over Merrimack.
Service aces were the key to the match for Wayne State as they held the advantage over Merrimack by the score of 11-3. Lindsey Graciak led the way for Wayne State with a game-high 19 digs.
Merrimack (0-2, 0-0 NE-10) will return to action tomorrow with a double header starting at 9 a.m. against Lynn and a 1 p.m. start against Texas A&M International.