RINDGE, N.H. - The Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team opened a three-match road swing with a 3-0 (25-13, 25-19, 25-16) loss to Franklin Pierce University in the FPU Fieldhouse on Tuesday evening. The Purple Knights are now 3-12 overall and 1-9 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Ravens, who qualified for the 2015 NCAA Tournament, improved to 9-13 and 5-5.
Sophomore Gabby Ratte (Kula, Hawaii/Seabury Hall/Colby-Sawyer) notched seven kills on 14 attacks to lead Saint Michael's, and first-year Allie Statile (Simsbury, Conn./Simsbury) had six kills. Sophomore Sarah Rodgers (Cheshire, Conn./Cheshire) dished off 13 assists and senior Catie Weller (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown West) had nine helpers to go along with five digs. Classmate Natalie Moore (Burnt Hills, N.Y./Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) posted a match-high 14 digs, and junior Julia Colasanti (Northville, Mich./Northville) added six.
Junior Hannah St. Jean and sophomores Katie Leidhold and Abigail Sonuga combined for 35 of Franklin Pierce's 46 kills, hitting .411 between them, as Leidhold led the way with 15 kills and seven digs. Sonuga swung .526 with 10 kills, and St. Jean hit .476 with 10 kills to go along with five blocks. Junior Hannah Runge dished off 35 assists, and classmate Madison Klusendorf collected 12 digs and three blocks.
The Purple Knights had 30 attacks to the Ravens' 29 during the opening set, but the hosts hit .414. Ratte's kill on the first point later gave way to a 2-0 visitor edge, but St. Jean had three kills and a block during a 7-1 counter. Junior Megan Priester's (Dover, N.H./Dover) kill sparked a tying 4-0 run, during which Statile and first-year Jordan Dean (Gilford, N.H./Gilford) combined for a block, but Franklin Pierce scored the next three points to kick off a clinching 18-6 stretch. The big Raven trio totaled eight kills and four blocks in that time.
Kills by Statile and junior McKenzie McNamara (Pembroke, Mass./Pembroke) had the Purple Knights square with the hosts, 2-2, early in set No. 2 before three Ravens had kills on three straight points early in a 15-4 run. Down 17-6, Saint Michael's scored 13 of the next 19 points to trim its deficit to 23-19, as Priester, Ratte and Statile combined for seven kills. Rodgers' ace created the four-point margin, but an attack error followed, and St. Jean made it 2-0 in the match by dropping a kill for the 25th point.
Behind a Ratte kill, the Purple Knights forged a 5-2 lead in the third set before the hosts scored the next four points, and Saint Michael's later wiped out a two-point deficit with consecutive kills by McNamara and Ratte. In a 9-9 set, Franklin Pierce scored the next seven points to begin a match-closing 16-7 run.
Saint Michael's visits two-time defending NE-10 Championship titlist Adelphi University on Friday for a 7 p.m. match. The Panthers qualified for the last nine NCAA Tournaments.