Women's volleyball falls to perennial regional heavyweight New Haven

Women's volleyball falls to perennial regional heavyweight New Haven

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team had a three-match winning streak snapped in falling to perennial regional heavyweight University of New Haven, 3-0 (25-16, 29-27, 25-20), on Saturday during Northeast-10 Conference play in the Ross Sports Center. The Purple Knights are now 11-7 overall and 4-4 in the league, while the Chargers are 12-10 and 4-3. New Haven claimed at least a share of the NE-10 regular-season crown each of its first seven years in the league and qualified for 29 of the last 32 NCAA Tournaments.

Sophomore Megan Priester (Dover, N.H./Dover) totaled 12 kills for the Purple and Gold, while senior Candace Washington (New Carrollton, Md./Parkdale) had 10 kills, swung .381 and notched four blocks. Her 89 blocks this year are the third-highest figure in school history and are the most since Katie Ouellette '06 had 96 in 2002. Classmate Kelsey Flaherty (Cold Spring, N.Y./Haldane) notched seven kills, 11 digs and three aces, moving into ninth in program annals with 883 career digs.

Junior Catie Weller (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown West) handed out 31 assists while adding five digs, and classmate Natalie Moore (Burnt Hills, N.Y./Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) collected 19 digs, bumping her season total to 409 and joining Stephanie Smetana '09, the program's all-time digs leader, as the lone Purple Knights with three 400-dig seasons.

Junior Meghan Kennelly paced a balanced New Haven offense with seven kills, adding 10 digs, senior Kristen Lee posted six kills and 10 digs, and graduate student Micki Impellizeri contributed six kills and eight blocks. Sophomore Lexis Peterson notched six kills, first-year Kristine Rios dished out 33 assists with four aces, and classmate Brianna Mirmina added 13 digs.

Sophomore McKenzie McNamara (Pembroke, Mass./Pembroke) dropped a kill for the match's first point, and the Purple Knights led 2-0 before the squads played through three ties, with New Haven ultimately beginning to pull away with a 9-2 run that made it 14-7. Saint Michael's twice chipped its deficit to five points, including 18-13 on a two-point run that featured a Flaherty ace and an ensuing Charger attack error, but the visitors responded with seven of the final 10 points.

Saint Michael's again scored the first two points in the second set, and neither team led by more than three points until the middle stages. After Priester's kill knotted the score at 16, Kennelly had a kill and an ace in a 5-0 run to make it 21-16, but the Purple Knights countered with five straight points of their own. Flaherty collected two kills and a block in that time. Ties ensued at 22-22, 23-23, 24-24, 25-25, 26-26 and 27-27, with Saint Michael's serving for the set on three different occasions, but New Haven found the equalizer each time. After Weller's ace gave the hosts a 27-26 edge, the visitors scored the final three points, with Rios' ace capping the comeback.

Lee's ace finished off a 5-1 run that gave New Haven the largest lead by either team to that point in the third set, at 11-7, and Saint Michael's edged within a point twice on Priester kills, at 15-14 and 18-17. The Chargers collected four straight points to nab a late 22-17 advantage, but back-to-back kills by McNamara and junior Megan Mulvaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) produced a three-point deficit. After the teams exchanged points, Peterson dropped a kill and first-year Lindsey Kim finished the match with an ace.

The Purple Knights head to American International College for their next match on Friday at 8 p.m.