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Volleyball Wins First Set of Year in Loss to Fairfield

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By Mark Washburn
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FAIRFIELD, Conn. - Big Green freshman Paige Caridi posted 12 kills and eight digs, but the Dartmouth volleyball team was beaten by Fairfield for the second straight time on the opening day of play at the Sacred Heart Invitational Friday. The Big Green (0-4), who are still searching for their first victory of the season, fell 25-17, 25-20, 21-25, 25-18 to the Stags (3-5), who have now won three straight matches.

Trailing 20-18 and facing elimination in the third set, Dartmouth scored seven of the next eight points in a rally that gave the squad its first set win of the season, 25-21. A pair of key back-to-back kills and a block by sophomore Alex Schoenberger (Corte Madera, Calif./The Branson School) put the Big Green up for good in the set, 24-21. And with Elisa Scudder (Ashburn, Va./Broad Run) serving the final three points of the frame, the visitors were able to put it away and keep the match alive.

After dropping the first set 25-17, Dartmouth regrouped, playing better in the next two frames. In the second set, the Big Green got off to a 6-3 advantage with help from a pair of kills by rookie Allison Brady (Phoenix, Ariz./Xavier College Prep) and a solo block from Scudder. But the Stags stayed composed and chipped away, eventually surging to a 22-14 lead on a 12-4 run. Dartmouth pulled within three, 23-20 after scoring five straight points late in the set that forced a Fairfield timeout. It wasn't enough, however, as a block by Maddie FitzPatrick and Marilyn Peizer after the timeout stopped the run and Peizer ended the set, 25-20, with a kill.

The two teams proceeded to go point-for-point in much of the third frame, with Dartmouth finally changing the momentum with a win to force a fourth set.

Fairfield regrouped in the fourth set, however, opening up a 15-12 lead on a blast by Peizer. The Stags retained the momentum opening up a 20-15 advantage on a tap by Hayley Moyer. After combining with Moyer on a block, Camille Coffey delivered a cross-court kill to put the Stags ahead, 22-15, and Fairfield held off Dartmouth the rest of the way for the 25-18 win.

Caridi (Austin, Texas/Westlake HS) paced the Dartmouth offense, while Scudder added eight kills with three blocks on a .412 hitting percentage. Freshman setter Kayden Cook (Southlake, Texas/Carroll HS) registered 34 assists and six digs, and Shoenberger had eight kills in a team-high 27 attempts.

Fairfield's Peizer led all hitters with a career-high 15 kills on .393 hitting. Rachel Romansky recorded her third double-double of the season, finishing with 49 assists and a season-high 14 digs along with a career-high seven kills and three total blocks.

Dartmouth will face Sacred Heart at noon Saturday and UCF at 3 p.m. as action at the SHU Invitational continues.