After losing the first set, the Bobcats rallied in three straight sets to beat NEC opponent St. Francis (Pa.) 3-1 on Sunday and complete the weekend sweep.
The Bobcats started out slow in the second set trailing 13-10, before tying the score at 17. Junior setter Kayla Lawler then led the Bobcats with five straight points during her serve to take a 22-17 lead. Quinnipiac won the set 25-21 when graduate student Amanda Armstrong drilled a service ace.
The victory gave the Bobcats momentum heading into the third set. The Bobcats jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead and never looked back. St. Francis did not come within three points of Quinnipiac the rest of the set as the Bobcats won 25-20 to take a 2-1 set lead in the match.
In the fourth and final set, the Bobcats came out strong with a 7-1 lead, but a late run by the Red Flash brought them within one point. However, St. Francis committed a service error, returning the serve to the Bobcats. Quinnipiac sealed the set win 25-20 and match 3-1.
“When we came in we were thinking about the whole first game as a whole instead of breaking it down in pieces,” Lawler said. “One thing we’ve been focusing on this year is five-point games. There are five five-point games to 25 (in each set). We focused on those after the first set and that’s when we picked it up.”
Their record may not show it, but the Bobcats are nationally ranked: in aces. Prior to the weekend’s games, Quinnipiac ranked 30th in the nation in service aces per set at 1.71. Lawler ranks 28th individually with .46 per set. She added four more in the victory over Robert Morris and two more Sunday. Eleven service aces were added for the team in the four set victory today.
“We practice serving everyday,” Quinnipiac head coach Robin Sparks said. “At the beginning of the year we talked about what’s going to make this team successful and I said we have to serve tough. If we can serve tough that’s going to take teams out of their middle offense and let us attack on serves. Tonight we had 11 aces as a team. That’s pretty incredible.”
The win improved the Bobcats to 4-14 on the year (2-3 NEC). The Red Flash fell to 4-15 (2-4 NEC). Quinnipiac plays at Holy Cross Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Photo credit: Amanda Shulman