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NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Senior libero Madison Burke (San Jose, Calif.) finished with a match-high 20 digs and junior setter Tara Stuhr (Huntington Beach, Calif.) added 46 assists as the Merrimack College women’s volleyball team defeated Stonehill in four sets, 3-1, in Northeast-10 Conference action from Hammel Court on Tuesday night.

Links: Highlights | Box Score | Madison Burke Interview

The Basics
Score: Merrimack 3
, Stonehill 1 (25-18, 27-25, 20-25, 25-19)
Records: Merrimack (7-9, 2-3 NE-10)
 | Stonehill (7-10, 2-5 NE-10)
 North Andover, Mass. | Hammel Court

How It Happened
A back-and-forth opening set saw the frame tied at 12-all after a service error from Burke. The Warriors answered quickly by going on a 4-0 run that included a kill from junior Jennifer Cain (Melrose, Mass.) and a service ace from Stuhr. Stonehill battled back to make it a three-point difference at 20-17, but the Warriors rattled off three unanswered points and won the set by seven, 25-18.

The second set started similarly, as both teams traded points until a Kelsey Weymouth kill gave the visitors a 13-12 lead. At that point, the Navy and Gold went the first extended run of the set, winning the next five points to take a 17-13 lead. During that stretch, sophomore Christina Nye (Plaistow, N.H.) notched a kill and the Warriors benefitted from multiple Stonehill errors.

The Skyhawks would not go away, winning 11 of the next sixteen points to secure back-to-back set points at 24-22. Merrimack held strong, using consecutive kills from Sofia Basauri (Beaverton, Ore.) and Juliette McCall (Torrance, Calif.) to square the frame at 24-all. Sophomore Mary Kate McCarroll (Harrison, Ohio) gave the Warriors a 26-25 advantage before a Stonehill error put Merrimack up, 2-0.

The Skyhawks prevailed in the third set after Merrimack hit only .065 as a team. Needing to win the fourth set to take the match, Merrimack compiled 16 kills as a team, for a .290 hitting percentage to avoid a fifth and deciding set.

McCall recorded two of four kills to begin the final frame as Merrimack raced out to a 4-0 advantage. Stonehill answered by going on a 8-3 spurt to briefly take a one-point lead. Kills from Cain, Nye and McCarroll turned a 14-12 lead into a 17-12 advantage as the Navy and Gold put away the Skyhawks. Stonehill made as close as four points over the remainder of the set, but Nye’s 12th kill of the night secured the set, 25-19, and gave Merrimack its second conference win of the season.

Inside The Numbers

  • Nye fell just one dig shy of her fourth double-double of the season. The second-year player notched her fourth match with at least 10 kills on the year as she continues her breakout campaign. Nye is averaging nearly two kills per set and over two digs per frame after appearing in only 10 matches as a rookie
  • Basauri turned in one of her best performances of the season. With eight kills on 16 attacks, the rookie posted a .438 hitting percentage which marked a new personal best. She has posted an attack percentage of at least. 333 in five of her last six matches
  • From the libero position, Burke posted at least 20 digs for the sixth time this season. She was the lone Warrior on the night to finish in double digits
  • Stuhr returned to form with 46 assists, the eighth time this season she has eclipsed 40 helpers. The setter also contributed two service aces and seven digs
  • Not to be forgotten, Cain, McCall and McCarroll contributed a combined 32 kills, with Cain totaling a match-high 14 of them

Up Next
Merrimack concludes its two-match home stand on Friday night when the Warriors take on Southern New Hampshire in NE-10 play at 7 p.m. from Hammel Court.

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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