SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (October 11, 2019) – The Western New England University volleyball team survived a comeback bid by Mount Holyoke College as the Golden Bears edged the Lyons 3-2 (25-16, 26-24, 23-25, 9-25, 15-13) on Friday night in non-conference action at Howard Gymnasium.
The Golden Bears were led by senior middle blocker Cassandra Holmes (Ellington, Conn.), who produced a match-high 20.5 points with 14 kills (.333) and seven total blocks (four solo). Junior outside hitter Hailey McDonnell (Methuen, Mass.) contributed 11 kills, while senior setter Caitlyn Sibiskie (Rockfall, Conn.) totaled 38 assists, seven digs and seven kills.
For the Lyons, sophomore outside hitter Sarah Bishop (Rutland, Mass.) accumulated 17 points with 12 kills and five aces to go along with 16 digs. Freshman outside hitter Marianne Simon (Miami, Fla.) also recorded a double-double with 12 kills and ten digs.
The Golden Bears raced out to a 9-2 lead in the opening set with the help of three kills from Holmes and never looked back, posting a 25-16 win to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
Western New England, which faced deficits of 14-8 and 23-19 in the second frame, utilized a 5-0 run with three more kills from Holmes to surge ahead 24-23. A Bishop kill tied the set one final time, before a pair of Mount Holyoke errors secured the win for the Golden Bears.
The Lyons were able to avoid a sweep as they rallied from deficits of 17-12 and 23-22 in the third set, claiming the final three points to get on the board.
The home team then cruised to a 25-9 win in the fourth set to force a fifth frame, where they held leads of 10-6 and 13-10. The Golden Bears put an end to Mount Holyoke's comeback bid, however, closing out the match by winning the final five points in a row. Holmes got the rally started with a kill, before a pair of Lyon attack errors and a Sibiskie kill pushed Mount Holyoke to the brink of defeat. One final miscue, a bad set, secured the win for the Golden Bears.
• Western New England's victory extends the Golden Bears' winning streak to four matches, their longest since winning four in a row last September 15-25.
• The win also pushes the Golden Bears' record above .500 for the first time since the end of the 2017 campaign.
• Western New England is now 4-4 in five-set matches this season.
The Golden Bears (11-10) resume CCC play at Salve Regina on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. Mount Holyoke (5-14) hosts Springfield on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.