NE-10 SEMIFINAL PREVIEW: #6 Stonehill Vs. #7 Merrimack

Senior captain Sydney Maxey led Stonehill past Bentley in Tueday's NE-10 quarterfinal match, as she hit .424 with 15 kills and 14 digs.

Skyhawks looking to secure first trip to NE-10 Championship match in program history

EASTON, Mass. (November 21, 2013) – The sixth-seeded Stonehill College volleyball team will make its seventh appearance in program history in the semifinal round of the NE-10 Championship, as the Skyhawks are set to face seventh-seeded Merrimack College Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at the University of New Haven's Charger Gymnasium, with a spot in the NE-10 Championship final on the line. Stonehill has never made it to the championship match in six tries. In the other semifinal match, host and top-seeded New Haven will take on fourth-seeded Adelphi University at 5 p.m.

Tickets for tomorrow night's contest will be $6 for adults, $4 for children and senior citizens, and $1 for students with a valid school ID. For fans not in attendance, live video will be provided at, and live stats will be available at

Stonehill (18-13, 9-5 NE-10) reached the semifinal match by defeating third-seeded Bentley University in stunning fashion in Tuesday night's quarterfinal match, 3-2 (23-25, 19-25, 25-20, 27-25, 15-12). Stonehill recovered from a 2-0 set deficit and fought off two fourth set match points to advance past the Falcons.

Senior captain Sydney Maxey (Hutto, Texas/Hutto) led the way, hitting .424 with 15 kills, 14 digs, and three blocks, while classmate and fellow captain Kirsten Arvidson (Andover, Mass./Andover) added 13 kills and two blocks to help fuel the comeback. With her 15 kill effort, Maxey upped her career total to 981, within 19 of 1000.

Sophomore outside hitter Delia Phillips (St. James, N.Y./Smithtown East) was one dig shy of posting her 15th double-double of the season, as she registered 15 kills with nine digs, and junior setter Emily Iverson (Elmhurst, Ill./York) dished out 47 assists to go with nine digs.

Stonehill dropped the opening two frames (after relinquishing a 15-11 lead in the first set), before responding in the third set with a 25-20 win. Trailing 24-23 in the fourth set with the season on the line, Maxey evened the score with a kill from Iverson. After surviving another match point, Stonehill forced a fifth set on a kill by Phillips followed by an attack error on Bentley outside hitter Jaci Buscher.         

Senior captain Kirsten Arvidson helped fuel Stonehill's comeback over Bentley with 13 kills and two blocks.

In the deciding frame, Stonehill built a 6-3 lead, before Bentley stormed back with five straight points to go up 8-6 as the teams switched sides. With the set tied at 12, consecutive attack errors by Bentley's Tatiana Froelich pushed the Falcons to the limit, and Arvidson put an exclamation point on the comeback with a match-ending kill.

In the regular season, Stonehill ranked second in the conference in kills per set (12.40), assists per set (11.71), and service aces (190). The Skyhawks also ranked third in the NE-10 in total blocks with 209, and fourth in points per set with 15.9.

Stonehill was led all season by Phillips, who averaged a team-best 3.11 kills per set (fourth in NE-10), as well as 2.99 digs per set, to go with 33 service aces and 30 blocks for the Skyhawks. Phillips was the only player in the Northeast-10 to record over 300 kills and 300 digs this season. Phillips also led Stonehill with 14 double-doubles in 30 matches in 2013. 

Arvidson ranked second on the team with 2.54 kills per set this season, and the right side hitter also contributed defensively with 0.74 blocks per set (third on Stonehill). In the Skyhawks 3-1 victory at Le Moyne College on November 15th, Arvidson hit a match-high .385 with 18 kills and five blocks to help Stonehill secure its fourth consecutive NE-10 Championship berth. With her 18 kill effort, Arvidson also surpassed 1000 kills in her Stonehill career.

Iverson did a nice job facilitating the Stonehill offense in the regular season, as the 2012 NE-10 All-Second Team selection averaged 10.34 assists per set to go with 2.02 digs per set, 12 blocks, and ten service aces. Her 10.34 assists per set average would be good for second in the NE-10, but Iverson does not qualify for conference statistical leaders because she has played in fewer than 60% of Stonehill's matches. Iverson eclipsed 3000 total assists for her career in Stonehill's win over Le Moyne on November 15th.

Junior middle blockers Meaghan Lee (Hanover, Mass./Notre Dame Academy) and Mary-Kate Catton (San Diego, Calif./Academy of Our Lady of Peace) ranked first and second on the team in blocks per set, respectively, with 0.82 and 0.79. Catton also checked in at third on the team with 2.20 kills per set, while Lee was fourth with 1.67 kills per set.

Maxey, a 2011 American Volleyball Coaches Association All-East Region and Northeast-10 All-Conference First Team selection, ranked second on the club with 3.03 digs per set, and fifth with 1.48 kills per set. Senior libero Jessica Frankowski (Unionville, Conn./Farmington), who reached 1000 career digs in Stonehill's regular season finale at Saint Rose, led the team defensively this year with 3.73 digs per set.

Stonehill has also received solid contributions from freshman setter Taylor Stevens (Foster, R.I./Ponaganset), and sophomore outside hitter Kelsey Weymouth (North Attleboro, Mass./North Attleboro). Stevens, who was recognized as the NE-10 Setter and Freshman of the Week on September 10th, averaged 5.47 assists per set this season when filling in for Iverson, while also averaging 1.89 digs per set and tying for the team lead with 33 service aces. Weymouth registered averages of 1.36 kills per set and 1.84 digs per set, and also added 28 blocks and 25 aces.

Sophomore Delia Phillips reached 500 career kills against Bentley on Tuesday, with her 15 kill, 9 dig effort in Stonehill's 3-2 victory.

Merrimack (16-14, 9-5 NE-10) advanced to the semifinal match by virtue of its 3-2 upset of second-seeded The College of Saint Rose on Tuesday night. The Warriors utilized 16 kills from junior outside hitter Stephanie Sheehan (Smithtown, N.Y./St. Anthony's) and 42 assists from freshman setter Tara Stuhr (Huntington Beach, Calif.) to earn its first NE-10 Championship match victory since 2008.

Sheehan led the NE-10 this season with 436 total kills and 3.96 per set, while Stuhr led the conference with 10.30 assists per frame. Sophomore libero Madison Burke (San Jose, Calif./Valley Christian) paced the Warriors defensively with 5.15 digs per set (good for fourth in the NE-10), and junior middle blocker Corrine Gosselin (Lawrence, Mass./Central Catholic) tallied a team-best 54 blocks.

When Stonehill and Merrimack met this season on October 29th, the Skyhawks won a 3-1 (24-26, 25-16, 25-19, 25-21) decision at Hammel Court in North Andover, Mass. Phillips posted her 11th double-double of the season with 16 kills and 14 digs while hitting .324, and Arvidson hit a team-high .343 with 16 kills and two blocks.

For the Warriors, Stuhr hit .429 with 35 assists and senior outside hitter Jackie Jones (Amherst, N.H./Wheaton College) recorded 11 kills, eight digs, three aces, and two blocks.

Stonehill's last appearance in the NE-10 Semifinals came on November 11, 2011, when the second-seeded Skyhawks were swept by third seeded Adelphi 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-18). In that match, Arvidson hit .391 with 12 kills, and Maxey added 11 kills, eight digs, and two blocks. Stonehill was also swept out of the semifinal round in 2010 by top-seeded New Haven.

Northeast-10 All-Conference Awards Announced Today
For Stonehill, Phillips was named to the First Team, Arvidson to the Second Team, and Iverson to the third team, while Stevens earned a spot on the All-Rookie Team. Merrimack's Sheehan landed on the first team, while Stuhr earned Rookie of the Year accolades, and also claimed a spot on the Second Team and the All-Rookie Team.

New Haven's Amber Cannady (Yonkers, N.Y./Charles E. Gorton) was named the NE-10 Player of the Year, and Bentley's Sandy Hoffman earned Coach of the Year honors.

NE-10 Championship Final Four Schedule:

Friday, November 22 – Semifinals (Final Four hosted by #1 New Haven)
Match 5: #4 Adelphi at #1 New Haven – 5:00 p.m.
Match 6: #7 Merrimack vs. #6 Stonehill –  7:30 p.m.

Saturday, November 23 – Championship
Match 7: Match 5 Winner vs. Match 6 Winner – 5:00 p.m.

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