Seniors lead comeback effort on Senior Day, Purple Knights erase two-set deficit in 3-2 win

COLCHESTER, Vt. - In a comeback performance dominated by seniors on Senior Day, the Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team erased a two-set deficit with a 3-2 (20-25, 17-25, 25-21, 25-19, 15-10) victory against Southern Connecticut State University on Saturday in the Ross Sports Center. The Purple Knights snapped a four-match losing streak while improving to 12-10 overall and 4-8 in the Northeast-10 Conference, earning their first triumph against the Owls since 2005. The visitors, who had won three of their last four matches, fell to 16-11 and 4-7.

Senior Jess McLeod (Medfield, Mass./Medfield) handed out a career-high 57 assists for the hosts, pushing her career total to 3,509 to become the 20th player in NE-10 history to reach 3,500. McLeod added 18 digs and three blocks. Sophomore Kelsey Flaherty (Cold Spring, N.Y./Haldane) posted a match-high 17 kills while adding a career-high-tying 21 digs and three blocks, and senior Chelsey Covitz (Marshfield, Mass./Marshfield) had 16 kills to come within one of her career high while swinging .467 and posting three blocks. With 924 kills for her career, Covitz trails 2013 Saint Michael's Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Jess Allan '95 for second in school annals by seven kills.

Senior Maddie Gaughan (Stoneham, Mass./Stoneham) posted a career-high 14 kills, and classmate Cynthia Edgerton (Vail, Colo./Vail Mountain School) contributed a career-best 15 digs, eclipsing the previous high of 14 that she had notched in her second collegiate match, on Sept. 9, 2010. Senior Lindsay Phenix (Tewksbury, Mass./Central Catholic) had nine kills and three blocks, and first-years Natalie Moore (Burnt Hills, N.Y./Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) and Natalia Maccarrone (Hingham, Mass./Notre Dame Academy) tallied 27 and 16 digs, respectively.

Senior Lauren McVey (Baldwinsville, N.Y./C.W. Baker) posted 14 kills and 17 digs for the Owls, and first-year Nicole Hauser (Stevens Point, Wis./Stevens Point Area) totaled 14 kills, 18 assists and 15 digs. Senior Jade Black (Overland Park, Kan./Hudson/Iowa Lakes CC) added 11 kills and 17 digs, and sophomore Morgan Carman (Mesa, Ariz./Mountain View) tallied 23 digs.

Southern Connecticut State snapped a 5-5 tie in the opening set with a 7-0 run before holding off the hosts, who turned a 10-point deficit into a 24-20 score on Covitz's kill. The Owls claimed a 2-0 lead in the match after capturing a second set that counted 17-17 as the 11th tie, with the visitors going on a 9-0 run to end the frame.

The Owls took a 5-1 edge in the third set while looking to clinch the match victory, but Saint Michael's countered with a 16-7 run. A 3-0 run by Southern Connecticut State later turned an 18-16 deficit into a 19-18 lead, but the host notched three straight points of their own and never again trailed. Another close contest ensued in set No. 4, with Covitz forcing the fourth tie at 8-8 before each team went on matching 4-0 runs. With her team down 18-17, Phenix dropped a kill to create the ninth tie, sparking an 8-1 run during which Flaherty posted three kills, including one at set point to tie the match.

Covitz recorded four of her kills in the final set alone, including two during a 4-0 run that broke a 4-4 tie and put her team ahead for good. Southern Connecticut State crept within one point three times, with 10-9 being the last occasion, before Gaughan, Phenix and senior Brianna Saunders (Litchfield, N.H./Campbell) recorded kills in a clinching 6-1 finish, with Gaughan's coming at match point.

Covitz, Edgerton, Gaughan, McLeod, Phenix and Saunders were all honored prior to the final home match of their careers during a Senior Day ceremony.

The Purple Knights head to Merrimack College on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. match.