HARRISONBURG, Va., Sept. 27, 2013 – Junior middle blocker Lizzy Briones (Siloam Springs, Ark./Siloam Springs) collected 12 kills, nine blocks and seven digs to help lead the James Madison volleyball team to a 3-2 win over William & Mary in a wild Colonial Athletic Association opener at Sinclair Gymnasium Friday evening.
JMU won by set scores of 25-18, 20-25, 23-25, 25-23, 16-14 to improve to 6-8 on the season and 1-0 in the CAA. William & Mary lost its fifth straight to drop to 4-12 and 0-1 in the league.
Briones hit .200 for the match, committing five errors in 35 attack attempts. Three of her nine blocks were solo rejections and the nine total blocks is one shy of her career best. Freshman right side Janey Goodman (Powhatan, Va./Powhatan) led the team with 15 kills on .213 hitting. She added three blocks and two digs while sophomore outside hitter MacKenzie Kleespies (Lincoln University, Pa./Avon Grove) added 10 kills, 15 digs, seven assists and three blocks.
Redshirt junior Kristi Richardson (Glen Allen, Va./Hermitage) started at setter and finished with 27 assists, nine digs, six kills and five blocks. Sophomore Sarah Patterson (Roanoke, Va./Hidden Valley) came off the bench to supply 17 assists, 10 digs, two kills and two blocks. Sophomore libero Sierra Hahn-Ventrell (Chevy Chase, Md./Bethesda-Chevy Chase) led five players in double figure digs with a team-high 16, adding two service aces. Joining Hahn-Ventrell, Kleespies and Patterson in double-figure digs were junior defensive specialist Martha Stewart (Naperville, Ill./Waubonsie Valley) with 11 and sophomore outside hitter Meghan Niski (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) with 14.
Outside hitter Liz Brown paced the Tribe offense with a match-high 23 kills on .302 hitting while outside hitter Dessi Koleva had 16 kills and 21 digs. Michelle Heath supplied 10 kills and three service aces off the W&M bench. Setter Paige Lucas paced the Tribe to a .160 attack percentage with 53 assists, adding nine digs, three blocks and two aces. Libero Paulette Grand Pre led all players with 28 digs.
JMU outhit W&M .201 to .160 and held a 16-11 advantage in blocks. The Tribe collected 88 digs to the Dukes’ 85 while also picking up points with seven service aces.
Set one went back and forth, featuring eight tie scores and five lead changes. With the Tribe leading 12-11, the Dukes capitalized on three attack errors to put together five-point run to grab the 16-12 lead. JMU never looked back, closing the set by winning nine of the final 15 points to close out the 25-18 victory. Goodman paced the attack with three kills while Briones contributed three blocks.
JMU led 18-16 in set two, but William & Mary won six straight points to take control of the set 22-18. Three kills by Brown helped put the set away and send the teams into the break tied 1-1.
Trailing 19-13 in set three, the Dukes fought all the way back to tie the score at 23-23. After a timeout, the Tribe capitalized on a JMU service error and got a kill by Koleva to claim the set. Brown paced W&M with six kills on .500 hitting while Kleespies finished with four kills in eight attack attempts for Madison.
William & Mary came out firing in set four, building a 6-0 advantage before JMU got on the board with a kill by Goodman. JMU continued to fight and eventually used a 4-0 run at the end of the set to pick up the 25-23 win. Goodman finished with six kills and no errors in 12 attack attempts to help JMU complete the rally.
No team led by more than two points in all of set five with a three-point scoring run pushing William & Mary to set point, leading 14-13. A pair of kills by Niski and a combo block by Goodman and freshman middle blocker Hanna Radhi (Gainesville, Va./Battlevield) sparked a 3-0 JMU run to help the Dukes claim the match.
Madison returns to action next weekend as it continues CAA play by welcoming the College of Charleston and UNCW to Sinclair Gymnasium. The Dukes host CofC at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4 before welcoming UNCW at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 6.
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