Bengals volleyball gives up one, posts two wins

FORT KENT, Maine — The University of Maine at Fort Kent women’s volleyball team achieved two wins and took a loss during the last several days of play.

UMFK defeated its heated Aroostook County rival, the University of Maine at Presque Isle, on Oct. 3. The Bengals swept the visiting Owls in straight sets in the first match, and in four sets in the second match.

In the first match (25-9, 25-8, 25-11) the Bengals got off to a fast start and did not look back. This was the last pair of home matches that seniors Vanessa Lopez, Justine McCorkle, Payton Spragling and Haley West will play in a UMFK uniform. Led by those seniors, the Bengals used speed and skill to their advantage, employing a quick back line to keep their opponents’ strikes from reaching the floor.

In the second match, the game was what any good rivalry is all about: heated back-and-forth action. The Bengals cruised to victory in the first two sets, winning 25-11 and 25-8, but UMPI took the third set 26-24. In that third set, the lead continued to switch in favor of both teams and was tied at 11 until UMFK was able to gain momentum, scoring on five consecutive points. However, the Owls pushed relentlessly to victory in a tight, down-to-the-wire contest.

According to UMFK Sports Information Director Fletcher Brown, Vanessa Lopez was dynamic in her offensive attack, compiling nine kills in the second match alone. She continuously found the holes in the Owl defense with her finesse shots right over the outstretched arms of the UMPI blockers. The Bengals finished off the Owls in the fourth set, 25-12.

The Bengals had an up-and-down road trip the weekend of Oct. 6 and 7 as they lost to Maine Maritime Academy on Saturday, but were able to recover and beat Fisher College on Sunday.

On Saturday in Castine, the Bengals were outmatched by a bigger Mariner lineup, losing both matches on the day (25-16, 25-27, 25-10, 25-13; 25-20, 25-16, 26-24). The size advantage for the home team created many problems for the visiting Bengals as they did not have the middle blocking they needed to respond against the kills from the Mariners, Brown said in a press release.

The Bengals’ usually quick and speedy defensive minded lineup never got going, and although they did squeak out a victory in the second set of the first match, the size of the Mariners was too much to handle for UMFK.

In the second game of the road trip on Sunday against Fisher College, the Bengals recovered nicely and were able to put away the Falcons in both matches (25-8, 25-13, 23-25, 25-14; 25-13, 25-19, 25-16, 25-14). Luse Lumas was unstoppable in the first match with 22 kills. She was no match for the Falcon defense. Payton Spragling had 14 kills on the outside in the second match.

Head Coach Selina Castro said, “It is disappointing to have the winning streak come to an end, but losing to a tall and fit Maine Maritime team will be a good learning experience for us come tournament time. Responding on back to back days to beat a tough Fisher College team was encouraging.”

The Bengals record now moves to 18-5 with their next match coming against SUNY Canton at the University of Maine at Presque Isle Tournament on Saturday, Oct. 13.

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