Keene volleyball gets past Bishop Guertin in NHIAA prelims

NASHUA — The Keene volleyball team — playing its first postseason match since 2010 — upset Bishop Guertin, 3-1 (13-25, 25-20, 28-26, 25-10), in the preliminary round of the NHIAA Division I tournament Thursday in Nashua.

The Blackbirds bounced back after the Cardinals handily won the first set.

“We just decided we needed to switch it up, we needed to so something better and we needed to have some better energy,” said Keene senior Phoebe Rigg to the Nashua Telegraph. “We really wanted to win this. It’s been too long.”

Rigg was dominant at the net with 10 kills, eight blocks and 11 digs. She got the resounding winning kill in the third set and the last two points of the second set.

Senior Summer Smith polished off the win with a 15-0 service run to end the fourth set and send Keene to the quarterfinal round.

Classmate Miranda Selema had two aces, 11 kills and seven digs.

“This is our first time in the postseason,” said Keene head coach Gabby Arig to the Telegraph. “Coming in, we didn’t have the experience. There were a lot of nervous jitters. Against a good team that fights so hard in the first set, I knew we’d be either at our best or our worst.”

Bishop Guertin senior Caroline Sullivan had 10 kills, five assists and four digs, while Julia Foster had 19 assists and four digs. Larissa Comolli had six kills, one ace and two blocks.

Keene travels to top-ranked, unbeaten and defending Division I champion Bedford in the quarterfinals Saturday at 6 p.m.

Elms College sweeps KSC volleyball

CHICOPEE, Mass. — Elms College’s Alanys Cruz Diaz finished with 17 kills on 30 attacks, hitting .467, as the Blazers handed the Keene State volleyball team a second consecutive straight set loss (25-18, 25-21, 25-20) Thursday evening in non-conference action at Picknelly Arena.

Ali McLoughlin led the Owls with 10 kills (.250 pct.) and 10 digs, while Emilyann Ashford had nine spikes and Stephanie Olah seven.

Kacie Blanchet finished with 29 assists and six digs.

Keene State (15-12) closes the regular season at Rhode Island College (10-13, 2-5 LEC) on Saturday at noon. The Owls need to win to ensure a Little East tournament quarterfinal home game next week.

— Nashua Telegraph sportswriter Tom King contributed to this report