Volleyball: Merrimack Clinches Playoff Berth

Junior Stephanie Sheehan (Smithtown, N.Y.) of the Merrimack College women’s volleyball team powered the Warriors’ offense to a thrilling, 3-2, win over Pace University Friday night. Sheehan recorded her 13th double-double of the season tallying 28 kills and 15 digs.

With this win, the Warriors have clinched a spot in the Northeast-10 Conference Championship. Right now Merrimack is tied in fourth place, along with Adelphi University and Stonehill College.

The Basics
 Merrimack 3 | Pace 2
 Merrimack (15-13, 9-4) | Pace (4-256, 0-14)
 The Goldstein Fitness Center | New York, N.Y. 

How It Happened
Pace set the tone in the opening set taking a 7-5 lead over the Warriors. The Navy and Gold managed to tie the game at 8-all after a kill from Sheehan. The Warriors slowly started to pull away with the lead but the Setters managed to go on a 6-0 run to tie the score at 19-all. Both team’s battled back-and-fourth, but Pace took the first set on a 3-0 run (25-22.)

The Warriors answered back and opened the second set on a 6-0 run. The Setter’s managed to bring the score to within four points (16-12), but Pace could not stop the Warriors’ offense. Merrimack finished the second set on a 3-0 run by an attack error by Pace to bring the score to 25-18.

In the third set, Merrimack took an early 6-5 lead before Pace went on a 6-0 run to bring the score to 11-7. Merrimack managed to come within one point (16-15) before rallying back to take the third set, 25-23.

The Navy and Gold took an early 10-5 lead before Pace came within two points, 16-14. With the score at 21-18, the Setters went on a 7-1 run to end the fourth set, 25-22, and sending the match into a fifth set.

Merrimack managed secured a 9-5 lead forcing Pace to take a timeout. After the timeout, the Warriors went on a 6-3 run to take the final set and match, 15-8.

Freshman Tara Stuhr (Huntington Beach, Calif.) led the offense with a career-high 58 assists, while sophomore Madison Burke (San Jose, Calif.) tallied a team-high 17 digs. Senior Jackie Jones (Amherst, N.H.) and junior Corrine Gosselin (Lawrence, Mass.) chipped in with 17 kills and 13 kills, respectively.

A Closer Look

  • As a team, Merrimack finished the night averaging a .301 hitting percentage, while Pace averaged a .200 hitting percentage.
  • The Setters held a 22-12 advantage in block assists, while Pace posted 24 blocks.
  • The Navy and Gold assisted 67 of the 71 kills on the night.
  • Kayla Witwer led the Setters with 22 kills.

NE-10 Standings
top eight –teams selected for postseason

1.New Haven (14-0)
2. Saint Rose (10-3)
3. Bentley (10-3)
T4. Adelphi (9-4)
T4. Stonehill (9-4)
T4. Merrimack (9-4)
7. Franklin Pierce (9-5)
8. American International (7-6)
9. Southern New Hampshire (7-7)
10. Southern Conn. State (5-9)
11. Saint Michael’s (4-9)
12. Le Moyne (3-10)
T13. Saint Anselm (2-11)
T13. Assumption (2-11)
15. Pace (0-13)
  • With this win, the Warriors will clinch the a spot in the Northeast-10 Conference Championship.
  • The Navy and Gold have not made the NE-10 Championship since the 2010 season.
  • The Warriors will play Tuesday, Nov. 19 in the NE-10 Championship Quarterfinals, but the opponent and time have not yet been determined.

What They Said

“The girls had to really dig deep after a long drive to get the win,” said head coach TJ Hajjar. “I am very pleased with how the girls played this season and very happy that they have the opportunity to clinch a spot in the playoffs .”

Up Next
Merrimack volleyball returns to action this weekend when they travel to Garden City, N.Y. to face the Panthers of Adelphi University in a Northeast-10 Conference showdown.

About the Author

Mike McMahon
Mike McMahon is in his 13th year covering Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report. Mike also serves on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN

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