Purple Knights lose first two sets by minimum two points, fall to regional power New Haven

WEST HAVEN, Conn. - The Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team lost each of its the first two sets by the minimum two points during its Northeast-10 Conference match at regional power University of New Haven before falling 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-14) at Charger Gymnasium on Friday afternoon. With the loss, the Purple Knights drop to 10-10 overall and 2-7 in the league, while the Chargers, who appeared in the last six NCAA Tournaments, improve to 20-1 and 11-0 thanks to their 17th consecutive win.

Senior Katie Walsh (North Kingstown, R.I./The Prout School) totaled seven kills and 10 digs for Saint Michael's, while classmate Tracy Peterka (Newport Beach, Calif./Mater Dei) notched seven kills and nine digs. First-year Kelsey Flaherty (Cold Spring, N.Y./Haldane) tallied five kills and 13 digs, and junior Chelsey Covitz (Marshfield, Mass./Marshfield) added seven kills. Junior Jess McLeod (Medfield, Mass./Medfield) handed out 25 assists and had seven digs, while senior Courtney Dunne (Hopkinton, Mass./Bancroft School) recorded a match-best 24 digs. Junior Lindsay Phenix (Tewksbury, Mass./Central Catholic) finished with three blocks for the Purple Knights.

Senior Keidy Candelaria (Vega Baja, Puerto Rico/Bayamon Military Academy) posted 22 assists, 15 digs and nine kills for New Haven, while first-year Kristen Lee (Colorado Springs, Colo./Liberty) tallied 11 kills and 13 digs. Junior Amber Cannady (Yonkers, N.Y./Charles E. Gorton) and sophomore Kristy Atufunwa (Denver, Colo./Denver East) notched eight and seven kills, respectively, and first-year Kea-Marie Olaso (Kailua, Hawaii/Le Jardin Academy) collected 21 digs. Sophomore Margo Meteyer (Madison, Wisc./Madison West) finished with 12 digs and six aces, while graduate student Bai Zhang (China/Shan Dong Zi Bo No. 10/China Shan Dong Normal University) had 10 digs and 11 assists for the Chargers.

New Haven raced out to an 8-3 advantage to begin the opening set before Saint Michael's took the next four points to pull back to 8-7. The Chargers went ahead by five, at 15-10, but the Purple Knights kept it close, as they claimed 13 of the next 22 points to trail 24-23. New Haven won the next point, with a kill from Lee, to take the first set.

The second frame saw only three ties, but neither team trailed by more than three until the Chargers took a 20-16 lead. Saint Michael's battled back to forge a 23-23 tie on Covitz's kill, but Lee tallied back-to-back kills to close out the set for Chargers. New Haven opened the third set with an 11-3 advantage, and the Purple Knights were unable to climb back to trail by fewer than seven for the remainder of the stanza.

Saint Michael's is back in action on Saturday when it faces Southern Connecticut State University in a road match scheduled for 12 p.m.