Women's volleyball falls at Merrimack, McLeod ties program record for matches

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. - The Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team suffered a 3-0 (25-21, 25-16, 25-14) setback to Merrimack College on Tuesday evening in Northeast-10 Conference action on Hammel Court. The Purple Knights fell to 12-11 overall and 4-9 in the league, seeing their three-match winning streak against the Warriors snapped, while the hosts are now 14-13 and 8-4.

Senior Jess McLeod (Medfield, Mass./Medfield) dealt 20 assists while totaling five digs and appearing in her 109th career match, tying a program record. Three former Purple Knights had previously reached 109 matches, including Annalyn Gilchrist '98, current head coach Kelly Garthwait '10, and Lindsey Frazier '11. Seniors Maddie Gaughan (Stoneham, Mass./Stoneham) and Brianna Saunders (Litchfield, N.H./Campbell) each notched five kills, sophomore Kelsey Flaherty (Cold Spring, N.Y./Haldane) had four kills and 11 digs, and senior Lindsay Phenix (Tewksbury, Mass./Central Catholic) tacked on four kills. First-year Natalie Moore (Burnt Hills, N.Y./Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) added 13 digs and extended her season total to 402, tying for sixth in school history while becoming the fourth Purple Knight to reach 400.

Senior Jackie Jones (Amherst, N.H./Wheaton) had 15 kills on 27 attacks for Merrimack, junior Stephanie Sheehan (Smithtown, N.Y./Saint Anthony's) totaled 13 kills, 13 digs and four aces, and first-year Tara Stuhr (Huntington Beach, Calif./Huntington Beach) collected 44 assists. Sophomore Madison Burke (San Jose, Calif./Valley Christian) notched 25 digs.

Merrimack scored six of the first seven points in the opening set and led by as many as seven before the Purple Knights roared back. Down 20-16, the visitors scored the next four points, knotting the set at 20 on senior Chelsey Covitz's (Marshfield, Mass./Marshfield) ace, before Sheehan recorded three straight kills to spark a 5-1 run that ended the set. During the next set, Saint Michael's trailed just 6-5 before three consecutive Sheehan kills keyed a 4-0 Merrimack run, and the Purple Knights never came closer than four points. The Warriors scored 11 of the first 12 points and never looked back in set No. 3.

Saint Michael's completes its season on Saturday with an 11 a.m. match at American International College.