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Big Green Split on Day One of the Dartmouth Duels

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By John and Matt Risley

HANOVER. N.H. – The Dartmouth women’s volleyball team split a pair of matches on Friday during the first day of the Dartmouth Duels inside the friendly confines of Leede Arena.

In the tournament opener, the Big Green (6-3) topped A-10 foe Rhode Island, 3-1, thanks to a balanced offensive attack that saw four players register seven or more kills. In the nightcap, the Green and White were swept for the first time this season as Connecticut won, 3-0.

The match against Rhode Island was much closer than the final 3-1 score indicated as Dartmouth scored a 25-20, 25-23, 24-26, 26-24 triumph.  The Big Green got on the board first taking the opening game thanks to a Paige Caridi kill and an attack error by the Rams Layne Self.

In the second game, the team from the Upper Valley rallied late to take the 2-0 advantage. Trailing 23-22, Dartmouth scored the final three points to take the wind out of URI’s sails. After a pair of attack errors by Rhode Island, Big Green junior co-captain Lucia Pohlman sealed the game by firing a kill down the line.

In the third game it was Rhode Island who pulled out late heroics to say alive. The Big Green had the Rams against the ropes with a 24-21 lead, but the team from the Ocean State scored the last five points to force a fourth game. Down the stretch in the game, a pair of attack errors and a bad set from the Green and White kept URI alive.

Dartmouth won the match in game four as Self recorded a pair of attack errors for Rhode Island with the score knotted at 24.

Offensively, Kaira Lujan had her best game of the season for Dartmouth tallying eight kills and a .438 attack percentage. After being named to the Ivy League weekly honor roll two weeks in a row, freshman Molly Kornfeind once again led the attack with nine kills. Stacey Benton dished out 28 assists for Dartmouth while Paige Caridi and Holly Harper added 19 and 15 digs, respectively.

In the finale, the Big Green never caught their stride as they fell in three sets to UConn.  The Big Green struggled during the first two games having sideout percentages of 43% and 41% compared to 78% and 91% for the Huskies.

Dartmouth showed some life in the third set, rallying from 24-20 to pull contest with one at 24-23. During the 3-0 spurt, the Green and White scored on a service error by Connecticut, an ace by Julia Lau and a kill from Lujan.

The Big Green wrap up the Dartmouth Duels tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 21 as they battle in-state rival New Hampshire at 2:30 p.m. and No. 9 Minnesota at 7 p.m. inside Leede Arena.