FAIRFIELD, Conn. — The Dartmouth volleyball team picked up its first win of the season Saturday in dramatic fashion, sweeping Central Florida on the last day of action at the Sacred Heart Invitational. The Big Green defeated the Knights (25-20, 25-21, 26-24) after falling to Sacred Heart (25-21, 25-14, 25-19) earlier in the day.
After picking up a two-set lead over UCF, Dartmouth fell behind early in the third and had to reach within to pull out the victory. Trailing 24-18 and facing a Knights' set point, the Big Green strung together eight straight scores on the serve of Alex Shoenberger, shutting out the competition for a 26-24 set win that secured victory in the match.
The first two sets of the match were almost mirror images, with the two squads trading points early before Dartmouth surged ahead with 12-7 leads. In both sets, the Big Green never looked back, maintaining a lead throughout and staying consistent to the end.
Central Florida put up a better fight in the third set, however, coming out strong early to take a 7-3 lead on six straight points. Dartmouth battled, though, keeping the set within reach largely due to the play of a pair of freshmen — Paige Caridi and Kayden Cook. With Cook setting and Caridi hitting, the duo combined to force four kills midway through the set that kept the Big Green alive. After seven straight Dartmouth points late, the pair teamed up again for the decisive match point.
The newcomers led the charge for the Big Green, dominating the final stat sheet. For the second straight day, Caridi led the squad, picking up her first career double-double with a team-leading 13 kills and 10 digs. Classmate Cook also notched her first ever double-double, tallying 29 assists with 12 digs and adding four blocks. Sophomore Schoenberger also contributed with eight kills, eight digs and four service aces.
For Central Florida, Evija Vilde had a match-best 17 kills, while Kayle Keller led all players with 15 digs.
Earlier in the day, Dartmouth lost to Sacred Heart in straight sets, a team which was swept by UCF earlier in the tournament. The visitors' first set was their best, as the Big Green remained neck-and-neck with the Pioneers until late in the set when SHU went on a 6-3 run to seal the victory.
Newcomer Katie Jarrett tallied five blocks and two service aces for Dartmouth in the Sacred Heart match, while Scudder added four blocks. Cook picked up 18 assists and added three blocks.
For Sacred Heart, Natalie Kridel (14 kills, 11 digs) and Karly Shockey (6 kills, 11 digs) led the way.
Dartmouth is back on the road next weekend, traveling to Buffalo, N.Y. for the Buffalo Tournament, which begins Friday, Sept. 14. The Big Green will face Buffalo (Fri., 7 p.m.), Syracuse (Sat., 2:30 p.m.), and Hartford (Sat., 5 p.m.).