SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team began a season-ending stretch of three matches against regionally-ranked squads with a 3-0 loss (25-22, 25-16, 25-18) to 2016 NCAA Tournament qualifier American International College on Friday evening in Butova Gymnasium. The Purple Knights are 1-16 overall and 1-11 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Yellow Jackets, who stand fifth in the latest NCAA East Region rankings, are 19-9 and 10-2. AIC has won 10 of its last 11 matches.
Senior Megan Priester (Dover, N.H./Dover) had six kills on .333 hitting for the Purple and Gold, and classmate McKenzie McNamara (Pembroke, Mass./Pembroke) notched five kills. First-year Katy Konow (Lebanon, Conn./Lyman Memorial) contributed 11 assists, junior Sarah Rodgers (Cheshire, Conn./Cheshire) collected six helpers and 10 digs, and senior Julia Colasanti (Northville, Mich./Northville) recorded a career-high 29 digs. Sophomore Jordan Dean (Gilford, N.H./Gilford) totaled nine digs after missing the past five matches, while junior Gabby Ratte (Kula, Hawaii/Seabury Hall/Colby-Sawyer) and sophomore Allie Statile (Simsbury, Conn./Simsbury) both picked up two blocks.
Sophomore Jana Potic had 12 kills and 11 digs for the hosts, while senior Annie Boele turned in eight kills and 13 digs. Junior Dolores Kopren had 34 assists, and senior Mercy Rivera notched 30 digs.
By the time the teams stood tied at 11 in the opening set, it went as the eighth deadlock, and neither team led by more than two points until AIC's 4-0 run made it 15-11. The Purple Knights drew as close as 19-17 on Ratte's block before the Yellow Jackets reached set point thanks to a 5-1 run. Consecutive Statile kills capped a 4-0 run that made it 24-22, but a visitor service error clinched the set.
McNamara's kill made it 2-0 early in the second set, and 10-10 stood as the teams' sixth tie before Rodgers' ace put the Purple Knights ahead by a point. However, four straight attack errors capped AIC's 5-0 run, as the hosts slowly built a set-ending 14-5 run. Three straight Boele kills made it 6-1 in favor of the hosts during set No. 3, and another Boele kill forged a 10-4 advantage before Priester had a kill and Statile a block during a 5-2 run that brought the visitors within 12-9. The Yellow Jackets never led by more than six points, as Priester's kill produced a 23-18 margin before consecutive kills by the hosts, including one by Potic at match point, clinched the win.
The Purple Knights close out their season next weekend with a pair of home matches, first opposing regionally-ranked University of New Haven on Friday at 5 p.m. The Chargers won last year's NE10 Championship and have qualified for 31 of the last 34 NCAA Tournaments, including the past 11.