WESTFIELD, Mass. – The Owls volleyball team advances in the MASCAC tournament with a first round, 3-1 (26-24, 20-25, 25-12, 25-12), win over the visiting MCLA Trailblazers on Tuesday, Oct. 30 in the Woodward Center.
Brianna Starkey (Rockland/ Rockland) paved the way for the Owls with 18 kills and eight digs. Westfield setter, Ally Rega (Chelmsford/ Chelmsford) connected on 41 assists and picked up 11 digs in the victory.
The Owls overcame a late 24-22 deficit in the opening frame of the match by way of a Trailblazer ball handling error, two kills by Karolyn Higgins (Billerica/ Billerica) and a game- winning kill from Rega to take a 1-0 lead.
The Trailblazers led wire-to-wire in the second set to even the match at 1-1. Ahna Schlaefer (Lee/ Lee) and Kelsey Lafreniere (Becket/ Wahcona) picked up the final point with a block. Schlaefer and Lafreniere each posted a team- high six kills on the night to lead MCLA in the setback.
Westfield cruised in the third and fourth sets by identical margins, 25-12, to take the match and move on in the tournament.
Jess Haradon (Mansfield/ Mansfield) shouldered the bulk of the defensive load for the Owls with 25 digs. Tessa Sestito (Corona, CA/ Valencia) and Celine Manigbas (Floral Park, NY/ Bard) picked up 17 and 15 digs respectfully for the Trailblazers. Sestito, who also sets for MCLA, made her numbers in the first two and half sets before injuring her leg, she finished with 13 assists.
The Owls will travel to Salem State on Thursday, Nov. 1 for a 7:00 p.m. start in the MASCAC semi- final match. The Vikings are the second seed in the tournament and Westfield looks to avenge a 3-1 setback in the regular season. MCLA finishes their 2018 season with an 8-18 record.