Women's volleyball rallies past Southern Connecticut State, 3-2

Women's volleyball rallies past Southern Connecticut State, 3-2

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team rallied from one set down to knock off Southern Connecticut State University, 3-2 (26-24, 19-25, 17-25, 25-20, 15-9), during Northeast-10 Conference play on Saturday at Pelz Gymnasium. In their road finale, the Purple Knights improved to 6-13 overall and 1-11 in the league while winning at the Owls' gym for the first time since 1998. Southern Connecticut State is 7-19 and 3-8.

Junior Kelsey Flaherty (Cold Spring, N.Y./Haldane) had 13 kills and a season-high 19 digs for the visitors, while classmate Candace Washington (New Carrollton, Md./Parkdale) and sophomore Megan Mulvaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) posted eight kills apiece, with Washington adding three blocks. First-year McKenzie McNamara (Pembroke, Mass./Pembroke) turned in a season-high seven kills and a season-high-tying three blocks. Sophomore Catie Weller (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown West) dished off 38 assists with 17 digs.

Sophomore Natalie Moore (Burnt Hills, N.Y./Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) picked up 30 digs. With 834 digs for her career, Moore passed Val Phillips '01 (808) for 11th in program history and is now within 15 of Jess McLeod '14 (849) for 10th. Moore also improved her season total to 418, the fifth-highest total in school annals. After collecting 416 as a rookie, she joins all-time leader Stephanie Smetana '09 and Courtney Dunne '13 as the only Purple Knights to ever record multiple 400-dig seasons, with Smetana the only other player with multiple 415-dig years. First-year Julia Colasanti (Northville, Mich./Northville) and sophomore Natalia Maccarrone (Hingham, Mass./Notre Dame Academy) contributed 13 and 11 digs, respectively.

Sophomore Nicole Hauser (Stevens Point, Wis./Stevens Point Area) paced the Owls with 18 kills and 28 digs, first-year Alexandria Jurgens (Cornwall, N.Y./Cornwall) notched 15 kills and 13 digs, and sophomore Faith Ford (New Britain, Conn./New Britain) had 13 kills. Two setters topped 20 assists, and junior Morgan Carman (Mesa, Ariz./Mountain View) totaled 24 digs as one of three Owls with at least 20.

The teams' 24-24 stalemate in the opening set marked the 15th tie before first-year Megan Priester (Dover, N.H./Dover) dropped a kill to finish off a set-ending 3-0 run for the 26th point. The second set also remained close, with neither team leading by more than three points until the hosts scored two straight to nab a 20-16 edge. Washington had two kills to twice bring her team within two, but the Owls scored the final four points. Southern Connecticut State led 9-7 in the third set before using a 12-7 run to begin pulling away. Saint Michael's chipped to within 21-16, but the hosts grabbed a 2-1 advantage in sets by claiming four of the final five points.

Set No. 4 saw the visitors nab the first six points, including two on Flaherty kills, before leading by as many as 10 points. After reaching a 24-16 margin and yielding the next four points to the hosts, the Purple Knights collected set point on McNamara's kill. Southern Connecticut State led by three points twice early in the fifth set and overcame a 7-7 tie with the next point, but Saint Michael's benefited from a Moore kill, a Maccarrone ace and five Owl errors during a 7-0 run to take a 14-8 advantage. Ford dropped a kill before Flaherty's kill clinched the match.

The Purple Knights host their final two matches this season, beginning on Tuesday versus Merrimack College at 7 p.m.