Saint Michael's splits pair of matches in season openers at SUNY Potsdam tournament

POTSDAM, N.Y. - The Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team kicked off its 2012 season by splitting a pair of matches on Friday at the State University of New York at Potsdam's Victory Promotions Invitational in Welsh Gymnasium. The Purple Knights claimed a 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-10) win over the State University of New York Institute of Technology in its opener before falling in five sets, 3-2 (25-23, 15-25, 16-25, 25-21, 15-11), against the host.

The Purple Knights opened their season with a win against SUNYIT, as junior Chelsey Covitz (Marshfield, Mass./Marshfield) dropped 14 kills on just 20 swings. She added three solo blocks. Senior Katie Walsh (North Kingstown, R.I./The Prout School) had 12 kills and nine digs, and classmate Tracy Peterka (Newport Beach, Calif./Mater Dei) notched eight kills in addition to 17 digs and five aces. Junior Jess McLeod (Medfield, Mass./Medfield) handed out 39 assists, and senior Courtney Dunne (Hopkinton, Mass./Bancroft School) paced the defense with 21 digs.

Saint Michael's saw a 2-1 lead slip away in its loss to SUNY Potsdam. In her first substantial college action, first-year Kelsey Flaherty (Cold Spring, N.Y./Haldane) notched 14 kills and 15 digs, while Walsh also added a double-double, with 13 kills and 15 digs. Covitz had 13 kills and three blocks, Peterka totaled 13 kills, and Dunne had 33 digs. McLeod dished off 50 assists and enters tomorrow needing four to become the fourth Purple Knight with 2,000 career helpers.

In the opening set, the Bears rallied from a 20-18 deficit for an early match edge before the visitors posted a pair of sizable wins, claiming victories by 10 and then nine points to nab a 2-1 match advantage. However, SUNY Potsdam completed the comeback by winning each of the final two sets by four points.

Saint Michael's completes action in the tournament tomorrow in a pair of matches at Saint Lawrence University. The Purple Knights oppose the host at 11 a.m. and the State University of New York at Oswego at 1 p.m.