COLCHESTER, Vt. - With each set being decided by the minimum two points, Saint Michael's College fell to 2014 NCAA Tournament qualifier Stonehill College, 3-0 (28-26, 25-23, 31-29), during Northeast-10 Conference women's volleyball action on Saturday at Ross Sports Center. The Purple Knights are 8-5 overall and 1-2 in the league, kicking off a regular-season-ending run of 12 straight contests against NE-10 squads, while the Skyhawks are 7-7 and 2-2.
Senior Candace Washington (New Carrollton, Md./Parkdale) notched 13 kills on 26 swings for the hosts, connecting at a .462 clip, while adding five digs and two blocks. Sophomore Megan Priester (Dover, N.H./Dover) had 10 kills and eight digs, while senior Kelsey Flaherty (Cold Spring, N.Y./Haldane) and sophomore McKenzie McNamara (Pembroke, Mass./Pembroke) tallied seven kills apiece. Flaherty, who tacked on eight digs, improved her career kill total to 728, passing Katie Herb '04 (724) to take over ninth in program history.
Junior Catie Weller (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown West) contributed 37 assists, six digs and four kills, while classmate Natalie Moore (Burnt Hills, N.Y./Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) recorded 14 digs and three aces, becoming the third Purple Knight to reach the 1,200-dig plateau (1,203). Sophomore Julia Colasanti (Northville, Mich./Northville) added 11 digs, junior Natalia Maccarrone (Hingham, Mass./Notre Dame Academy) posted six digs and two aces, while classmate Megan Mulvaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) had four kills.
Sophomore Katherine DeLanty led Stonehill with 15 kills, classmate Marykay Nasby added 13, and senior Delia Phillips had 12. Junior Taylor Stevens totaled 52 assists and three blocks, sophomore Claire Manuszak recorded 16 digs, and classmate Ashley Hitchcock turned in 13.
During an opening set that saw 16 ties, Stonehill's 8-6 lead was the largest by either team at that point before Saint Michael's rattled off the next four points, two coming on Maccarrone aces. After Flaherty dropped an ace to knot the set at 14, DeLanty had two kills during a 5-0 Skyhawk run, and the hosts still trailed 22-18 late. However, three consecutive aces by Moore keyed a 5-0 response, and a Stonehill service error still had Saint Michael's ahead 24-23 and serving for the set. The visitors countered with the next two points, taking the first of three one-point edges before DeLanty's clinching kill.
The Skyhawks scored the first four points of the second set, but Washington had two blocks and a kill during a 5-0 response for the hosts, and neither team led again by more than three points until the late stages. In a 19-all contest, Nasby had consecutive kills to cap a 5-1 run that gave Stonehill a 24-20 lead, but Mulvaney and Priester notched kills of their own in helping Saint Michael's chip within 24-23. However, the hosts were unable to forge the 13th deadlock of the set, as Hitchcock's closing kill put her squad up 2-0 during the match.
Set No. 3 featured a dozen more ties, including six after Stonehill snagged a 24-23 lead. The Purple Knights trailed 20-16 following a Phillips kill but scored the next three points, creeping within one point five times before ultimately using a 3-0 run to go up 25-24 on a Flaherty kill. That was the first of five one-point leads for Saint Michael's where the next point would have clinched the set, with Flaherty, McNamara, Priester, Washington and Weller each downing a kill to create a cushion. Trailing 29-28, Stonehill rattled off the final three points, with DeLanty's second kill in that time ending the match.
The Purple Knights head to Bentley University for their next match on Saturday at 5 p.m.