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  • Writer's pictureJack Bienvenue

Women’s Volleyball advance to semi-finals with sweep over Raiders

Updated: Nov 18, 2023

After a historic regular season for the program, the women’s volleyball team would turn their focus to the playoffs and look to accomplish something they have not done since 2001: winning a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship. The first opponent standing in the way of that goal was the Rivier Raiders, who came into a jam-packed Athletic Center seeking revenge after being swept in the same building earlier this season.

The Lasers got off to a hot start earning the first four points of the set, and quickly extended their lead 10-3, prompting a Rivier timeout. Coming out of the break, the Lasers continued to dominate, creating a 5-0 run, highlighted by three aces from sophomore libero Maddie Caro, to extend the team’s lead 16-4.

Despite the slow start, the Raiders continued to battle as an 8-0 run sparked by their defense got them back into the set, closing the gap to five points. The Raiders’ comeback hopes would be short lived, however, as two late service errors made the deficit too large to overcome, and the Lasers would escape the first set with a 25-19 win.

Outside hitter Emily VanHouten rises up for the spike.

Photo Credit: Joe Giacco

The second set would start just as kindly as the first for the Lasers, as they came out of the gates on a quick 7-2 run. Like the set prior, the Raiders were not going down without a fight, as they continued to hustle to every ball. Two late service errors by the Lasers kept the Raiders in striking distance with the score at 20-14. The six-point deficit inevitably was too much for Rivier to overcome, as the Lasers offense got back on track and would go on to win the pivotal second set, 25-17.

With their backs against the wall, down two sets to none, the Raiders gave the Lasers their best effort, keeping it close and containing the high-powered Lasers’ offense early. As a result of their continued attentiveness on defense throughout the final set, the Raiders found themselves down only four, with the score at 22-18. Soon after a Coach Jeff Vautrin timeout, freshman middle blocker Kyra Paris delivered the final blow to the Raiders’ tournament hopes, with a kill that punched the Lasers’ ticket to their second consecutive semi-finals berth.

Caro credited their commitment to each other when talking about what has gotten the Lasers up to this point.

“It’s an accumulation of all of our hard work, showing up to practice not just for ourselves but for each other,” Caro said.

The Lasers will travel to Simmons University on Thursday night for a 7 p.m. showdown, fighting for the chance to play in the GNAC Championship game.


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