Women's volleyball sweeps Southern Connecticut State, extends winning streak to three

Women's volleyball sweeps Southern Connecticut State, extends winning streak to three

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team won its third straight match on Friday evening, sweeping Southern Connecticut State University, 3-0 (25-17, 25-10, 25-21), during Northeast-10 Conference play in the Ross Sports Center. The 48 points were the fewest allowed by the Purple Knights in a league contest since Oct. 4, 2008.

Saint Michael's improved to 11-6 overall and 4-3 in the NE-10, matching its highest conference win total since 1994. The Owls slipped to 6-20 and 1-8, with its lone win against perennial league heavyweight University of New Haven.

While continuing a three-match homestand, the Purple and Gold swung a season-high .308, including .465 in the opening two sets after committing only four errors. Sophomore Megan Priester (Dover, N.H./Dover) had 12 kills and two blocks, and senior Candace Washington (New Carrollton, Md./Parkdale) dropped eight kills while hitting .500, adding four blocks. Classmate Kelsey Flaherty (Cold Spring, N.Y./Haldane) notched six kills, seven digs and five of her team's 13 aces, while first-year Sarah Rodgers (Cheshire, Conn./Cheshire) added five aces to go along with the 10 assists she accrued in the third set alone.

Junior Megan Mulvaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) notched four kills, sophomore McKenzie McNamara (Pembroke, Mass./Pembroke) totaled three on five swings, and junior Catie Weller (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown West) dished off 17 assists during her two sets as the primary setter. Sophomore Julia Colasanti (Northville, Mich./Northville) collected 11 digs and two aces, and junior Natalie Moore (Burnt Hills, N.Y./Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) recorded eight digs and three assists.

Sophomore Alexandria Jurgens had six kills to lead Southern Connecticut State, classmate Alexandra Nimz handed out 10 assists, and senior Morgan Carman posted five digs.

The opening set featured seven ties, and Jurgens dropped an ace to keep the Owls within 15-14 before the Purple Knights pulled away with Rodgers at the service line. Priester notched a kill before Rodgers tallied pair of aces in a 5-0 run, kicking off a clinching 10-3 run. McNamara had a pair of kills down the stretch, while Flaherty's kill ended the set.

A kill by Jurgens put the visitors up 3-2 in the second set before Flaherty served for most of an 11-0 response, netting three aces. Priester added two kills. Another kill by Priester made it 17-4, and the hosts twice led by as many as 15 points, including when Weller dropped a kill at set point.

Southern Connecticut State forged a 3-1 edge in set No. 3 prior to an 11-1 run by the Purple Knights, with Flaherty posting two kills and two aces in that time. Consecutive aces by Rodgers made it 16-7, and a Priester kill provided a 23-15 cushion before the Owls scored six straight points. However, Priester's kill for the 24th point was followed by Rodgers' clinching ace.

The Purple Knights host New Haven on Saturday at 5 p.m. The Chargers have claimed at least a share of the NE-10 regular-season crown each of their seven years in the league and qualified for the past nine NCAA Tournaments, as well as 29 of 32 national tournaments since 1983.