SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - The Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team split a pair of matches at the second day of the Union (N.Y.) College Invitational, falling to the hosts, 3-1 (25-20, 28-30, 25-17, 25-16), before rallying past the State University of New York at Cortland, 3-2 (19-25, 22-25, 25-17, 25-23, 15-11), on Saturday in Viniar Athletic Center. The Purple Knights moved to 3-2, while their opponents are 9-2 and 5-7. Sophomore Natalie Moore (Burnt Hills, N.Y./Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) was named all-tournament and also reached the 500-dig mark in her 28th career match.
In the day's first match, junior Candace Washington (New Carrollton, Md./Parkdale) had 11 kills and five blocks, while sophomore Catie Weller (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown West) turned in 33 assists and 22 digs. First-year Megan Priester (Dover, N.H./Dover) totaled eight kills, and classmate Hannah Lesch (North Reading, Mass./North Reading) accumulated seven kills, nine digs and three blocks. Moore notched 28 digs, senior Hillary Miller (Plattsburgh, N.Y./Plattsburgh/Colby-Sawyer) totaled 18, and junior Kelsey Flaherty (Cold Spring, N.Y./Haldane) posted 11 to go along with her six kills.
Neither team led by more than three points in the opening set until Union completed a clinching 6-1 run that snapped a 19-all tie. Four was the greatest margin for either team in set No. 2, as the Purple Knights turned a 20-16 deficit into a 24-21 lead before Priester and Washington posted consecutive kills in breaking a 28-28 deadlock. Union led 8-7 in the following set but scored 13 of the next 19 points to begin pulling away, and the Dutchwomen forged a 9-4 edge in the fourth set and never again led by fewer than four points.
Priester had a season-high 19 kills against SUNY Cortland, the most by a Saint Michael's first-year since all-time kills leader Lindsey Frazier '11 had 22 on Nov. 3, 2007. Flaherty notched 18 kills and 11 digs, and Washington totaled 16 kills and six blocks. Weller contributed a career-high 52 assists in addition to 10 digs, and Moore posted 26 digs to reach the 500 mark. Sophomore Natalia Maccarrone (Hingham, Mass./Notre Dame Academy) tacked on 10 digs, Miller dropped four aces, and sophomore Megan Mulvaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) posted five blocks.
The Red Dragons used an early 5-0 run to erase a 7-6 deficit and take the final lead in set one before holding a 20-15 edge in the second set but yielding a tying 5-0 run to Saint Michael's, with two of the final three points coming on Miller aces. However, after a Flaherty kill gave the Purple Knights a 22-21 lead, SUNY Cortland scored the final four points to lead the match 2-0. With a 15-13 lead in hand, Saint Michael's scored 10 of the final 14 points in set No. 3 and overcame a 17-16 hole in the next set with a 5-1 run, fending off the Red Dragons after they cut the margin to one point on three occasions. In a tie match, Saint Michael's completed the comeback by scoring three straight points, including two on Washington kills, to go ahead 13-9 in the last set before countering SUNY Cortland's two-point rally with the final two points.
The Purple Knights open their home slate on Wednesday versus Norwich University at 6 p.m.