Women's Volleyball Falls Twice to 2016 NCAA Teams at Gannon/Mercyhurst Tourney

Women's Volleyball Falls Twice to 2016 NCAA Teams at Gannon/Mercyhurst Tourney

ERIE, Pa. - The Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team closed out competition at the Gannon (Pa.) University/Mercyhurst (Pa.) University Invitational on Saturday with a pair of losses to 2016 NCAA Tournaments teams in Gannon's Hammermill Center. The Purple Knights, who slipped to 0-4, fell to the 6-1 hosts, 3-0 (25-11, 25-11, 25-20), before dropping a 3-0 (25-15, 25-14, 25-20) match with 6-0 University of Findlay (Ohio).

Against Gannon, which qualified for the last eight NCAA Tournaments, sophomores Tanner Barton (Hudson Falls, N.Y./Hudson Falls) and Jordan Dean (Gilford, N.H./Gilford) paced all Purple Knights with four kills apiece, while Dean added five digs. Junior Sarah Rodgers (Cheshire, Conn./Cheshire) had 10 assists and two aces, senior Julia Colasanti (Northville, Mich./Northville) totaled eight digs, and junior Abby Blanchet (Milford, N.H./Milford) dropped a pair of service aces.

Sophomore Lydia Lukomski recorded 13 kills on .632 hitting for the Golden Knights, classmate Ally Smith posted seven kills on .636 attacking during one set, and first-year Ashley Beyers had 35 assists and four aces.

Saint Michael's chipped an early five-point deficit to three at 7-4 on senior McKenzie McNamara's (Pembroke, Mass./Pembroke) during the opening set before the hosts used a 15-4 run to pull away. Another McNamara kill brought the visitors within 4-3 in set No. 2, but Gannon countered with nine straight points and never again led by less than eight. Behind Rodgers' ace and assist, the Purple Knights forged a 5-1 advantage in the third set before the Golden Knights netted the next five points, and the teams exchanged five leads before Gannon went up by as many as six points. First-year Katy Konow's (Lebanon, Conn./Lyman Memorial) ace later made it 23-20, but a Lukomski kill and Gannon ace concluded the match.

Dean notched six kills versus Findlay, which competed in the past two NCAA Tournaments, McNamara had five kills and two blocks, and junior Gabby Ratte (Kula, Hawaii/Seabury Hall/Colby-Sawyer) added four kills. Konow and Rodgers each collected 11 kills, Colasanti had 16 digs, and first-year Jillian Harvie (Scarborough, Maine/Scarborough) turned in two aces.

For the Oilers, senior Erika Roach, sophomore Shelby Kin and first-year Ainslie Johnson combined for 21 kills and seven blocks while hitting .472 between them, and sophomore Natalie Regula posted 29 assists.

Findlay netted four straight points to grab a 4-2 edge in the opening set before extending upon a one-point edge with a 7-1 stretch. A dual block from McNamara and senior Megan Priester (Dover, N.H./Dover) capped a 4-0 run that allowed Saint Michael's to trail 14-11, but the next five points came from Oilers. In an 8-8 second set, Findlay built a lead thanks to a 15-3 run. Neither team led by more than two points in the third set until Findlay rattled off four straight to go up 15-12, and the Purple Knights edged within one point three times before the Oilers produced a match-clinching 7-3 run.

The Purple Knights open their home slate against Middlebury College on Sept. 19 at 7 p.m.