Women's volleyball challenges regional power New Haven in 3-1 setback

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team challenged regional power University of New Haven on Friday but fell shy of the upset, 3-1 (25-23, 25-15, 21-25, 25-13), during Northeast-10 Conference play in the Ross Sports Center. The Purple Knights are now 11-10 overall and 3-8 in the league after taking just their second set ever in nine all-time meetings with the Chargers. New Haven, which has yet to lose an NE-10 regular-season match since joining the league in 2008 and has qualified for the past seven NCAA Tournaments, including last year's Elite Eight, is 20-4 and 11-0. The visitors are also ranked fourth in the NCAA East Region poll.

Senior Lindsay Phenix (Tewksbury, Mass./Central Catholic) put together 10 kills and three blocks for Saint Michael's, and sophomore Kelsey Flaherty (Cold Spring, N.Y./Haldane) had 10 kills and eight digs. Senior Maddie Gaughan (Stoneham, Mass./Stoneham) totaled eight kills in her first appearance since Oct. 25, and classmate Chelsey Covitz (Marshfield, Mass./Marshfield) added seven kills and three blocks. With 908 career kills, Covitz passed Lindsey Shumway '05 (904) to take over third in program history. Senior Jess McLeod (Medfield, Mass./Medfield) dished out 37 assists while notching 12 digs and five kills on nine attacks. First-years Natalie Moore (Burnt Hills, N.Y./Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) and Natalia Maccarrone (Hingham, Mass./Notre Dame Academy) posted 21 and 11 digs, respectively.

Senior Amber Cannady (Yonkers, N.Y./Charles E. Gorton) collected 19 kills and 12 blocks for a New Haven squad that totaled 17 blocks. Junior Kaulana Ane (Paia, Hawai'i/Kamehameha) had 32 assists and six blocks, sophomore Kristen Lee (Colorado Springs, Colo./Liberty) posted seven kills and 17 digs, and classmate Kea-Marie Olaso (Kailua, Hawai'i/Le Jardin Academy) added 21 digs.

Saint Michael's forged a 7-2 advantage in the opening set following Gaughan's kill, and New Haven twice crept within one point before the hosts led by a 19-14 margin. Phenix dropped a kill to keep her team in front by a 22-20 count, but Cannady provided consecutive blocking assists to cap a 4-0 run, and a Gaughan kill that brought the Purple Knights within 24-23 was met by Cannady's kill at set point. The Chargers scored the first five points of set No. 2 and never again led by fewer than four points en route to nabbing a 2-0 lead in the match.

The teams played through eight ties in the third set, with Covitz's kill snapping a 15-all knot and sparking a 3-0 run that gave Saint Michael's the lead for good. The hosts held off a late New Haven charge, as the visitors trimmed a 22-17 hole to 23-21 before sophomore Candace Washington (New Carrollton, Md./Parkdale) and Phenix posted back-to-back kills to end the set. In the fourth set, five more ties occurred before three straight points, including the final two on Lee aces, put the Chargers ahead for good. Gaughan posted a kill to make it 11-9, but her team came no closer.

The Purple Knights complete their home slate with a Senior Day event tomorrow at 3 p.m. against Southern Connecticut State University.