They sweep Rhode Island College, will face Keene State in championship match


WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – Junior Jessica Keogh (MONROE) and Marianna Capomolla (STAMFORD) combined for 29 digs and handled 54 receptions without an error to lift the top-seeded Warriors to a three-game sweep (30-27, 30-19, 30-25) of fourth-seeded Rhode Island College Friday night in the semifinals of the 2005 Little East Conference Tournament at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.


With its fifth straight win over Rhode Island (22-14), Eastern (27-10) will face  third-seeded Keene State College (17-11) in Saturday’s championship match at noon. Keene State  overcome a two-game deficit to post a 3-2 victory over second-seeded Plymouth State University (22-16) in Friday night’s first semifinal. 


Eastern will be making its 10th trip to the final in the tournament’s 11 years. The Warriors won titles from 1995 through 1998, losing last year to Plymouth State, 3-0. It will be the first finals appearance in the 11-year history of the tournament for Keene, which recorded its highest regular-season finish (third) during the regular season. Plymouth, which had downed Keene 3-2 Sept. 16, had reached the tournament final each of the past two seasons, winning its first crown a year ago over Eastern.


Since losing four straight, Eastern has won 18 of its last 21, including its last five straight. The Warriors had beaten Rhode Island in four games Sept. 17 in Providence. The Anchorwomen were the top seed in last year’s conference season after sharing the regular-season title with Eastern, Plymouth and Western Connecticut. Eastern and Plymouth shared this year’s regular-season conference title with 6-1 records.


Keogh led Eastern with 15 digs and was perfect in receiving 22 serves. Capomolla followed with 14 digs and handled 32 serves without an error. Keogh also had eight kills. Senior Nicole Tassone (EAST PATCHOGUE, NY) led the Warriors with nine kills and contributed five blocks. Sophomore setter Meghan Doyle (HEWLETT, NY) recorded 15 assists.


Although Rhode Island attacked at just .126, senior Kristy Nix had 12 kills and attacked at .229, with junior Erin Miga collecting seven kills and attacking at .238. Senior Stephanie Wojciechowski had 19 digs, Nix 15. Wojciechowski handled 45 receptions with just three errors.


Keene, which swept former five-time conference champion Western Connecticut State University in Tuesday’s first round, has won seven of nine. The Owls defeated Eastern in four games for the first time in the 11-game series when the teams met in the regular season Sept. 28.