Purple Knights take lead over regionally-ranked Adelphi, fall in four sets

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. - The Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team took the first set against regionally-ranked Adelphi University before suffering a pair of close set losses during a 3-1 (20-25, 25-14, 26-24, 25-20) setback in its season finale on Saturday at the Center for Recreation and Sport.

The Purple Knights ended the year 10-16 overall and 2-13 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Panthers, who are second in the latest NCAA East Region poll and occupy second place in the NE-10 standings, are 22-10 and 13-2.

Senior Katie Walsh (North Kingstown, R.I./The Prout School) had 15 kills and nine digs in her final collegiate event, while junior Chelsey Covitz (Marshfield, Mass./Marshfield) tacked on 12 kills. Senior Tracy Peterka (Newport Beach, Calif./Mater Dei) had five kills and 20 digs, and junior Jess McLeod (Medfield, Mass./Medfield) contributed 32 assists and 14 digs. Senior Courtney Dunne (Hopkinton, Mass./Bancroft School) provided eight digs, and first-year Kelsey Flaherty (Cold Spring, N.Y./Haldane) notched five kills and 12 digs.

Adelphi senior Chelsea Overholt (Centreville, Va./Flint Hill School) led all players with 20 kills in addition to 10 digs and three blocks, and sophomore Kaitlyn DeStefano (Farmingdale, N.Y./Farmingdale) notched 11 kills and seven blocks. Senior Samantha Rico (Port Jefferson, N.Y./Vandermeulen) provided 10 kills, and junior Katie Bryson (Massapequa, N.Y./Massapequa) turned in 33 assists. Graduate student Bianca Hernandez (East Moriches, N.Y./Westhampton Beach) collected 21 digs.

In the opening set, neither team led by more than two points until the Purple Knights scored seven straight to break open an 8-7 set, with junior Lindsay Phenix (Tewksbury, Mass./Central Catholic) providing two kills during that time. Adelphi trimmed that 15-7 deficit to three points twice, including at 23-20, but a Phenix block and an ensuing attack error by the Panthers allowed Saint Michael's to lead 1-0. Adelphi broke open a 4-4 second set with six straight points before Flaherty's kill brought the visitors within 12-9. That was the closest the Purple Knights came to matching the hosts.

Saint Michael's quickly held a 9-1 advantage in the third set, and still led 19-12 on a Walsh kill before the Panthers put together a sizable rally, with 14 of the final 19 points. Walsh's kill had the visitors in front by a 23-19 count and, after four straight points by the host knotted the score, a service error gave the Purple Knights a 24-23 edge and set point. However, three straight kills by Adelphi ended the set and gave it a 2-1 match advantage.

In the fourth set, Saint Michael's corralled a 4-3 edge and continued to lead, including at 17-13 on a Covitz kill, before yielding five straight points, but Walsh provided a kill to knot the score at 18. Adelphi countered by scoring seven of the final nine points.