Women's volleyball holds close with NE-10 power Adelphi during eventual 3-1 loss

Women's volleyball holds close with NE-10 power Adelphi during eventual 3-1 loss

COLCHESTER, Vt. - After edging to within 2-1 in the match and being tied at 15 during the fourth set against the first-place team in the Northeast-10 Conference, the Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team fell to defending NE-10 Championship titlist Adelphi University, 3-1 (25-18, 25-20, 23-25, 25-16), on Friday in the Ross Sports Center.

The Purple Knights are 11-10 overall and 4-7 in the league, and stand 1.5 games out of eighth place with three regular-season matches remaining. The top eight squads qualify for the NE-10 Championship. The Panthers, who have won two of the past four league tournaments while qualifying for the last eight NCAA Tournaments, are 20-4 and 11-0.

Senior Candace Washington (New Carrollton, Md./Parkdale) had 16 kills and a career-high 10 blocks while hitting .483 for Saint Michael's, and classmate Kelsey Flaherty (Cold Spring, N.Y./Haldane) notched 11 kills and seven digs. Sophomore McKenzie McNamara (Pembroke, Mass./Pembroke) had seven kills and two blocks, and junior Catie Weller (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown West) handed out 37 assists to go along with seven digs, three blocks and two aces.

Junior Natalie Moore (Burnt Hills, N.Y./Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) put forth 29 digs and two aces, sophomore Julia Colasanti (Northville, Mich./Northville) and junior Natalia Maccarrone (Hingham, Mass./Notre Dame Academy) tallied 13 and 12 digs, respectively, and junior Megan Mulvaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) added five blocks.

During the course of the match, Washington broke a pair of school records for blocking assists, increasing her career total to 170 to surpass former teammate Chelsey Covitz's '14 (167) old mark and moving to 74 on the season to eclipse Beth Dore's '91 (72) 28-year-old standard. With 103 total blocks for the season, Washington is the second Purple Knight to ever reach triple digits, and the first since Tracy Carlsten '89 had a record 120 in 1987.

Moore passed Courtney Dunne '13 (1,373) to take over second place in program history in career digs, as she now has 1,375. With a career-high 490 for the season, Moore is closing in on becoming just the third Purple Knight with 500, and the first since career kills leader Stephanie Smetana '09 in 2007. Flaherty took over eighth in school annals in career kills, increasing her total to 803 and passing Tracy Peterka '13 (793). Flaherty joins Keri Forrest '97 and Katie Walsh '13 as the lone players in program history with 800 kills and 900 digs for a career, having notched 911 digs.

Junior Mandy Stanislovaitis led Adelphi with 20 kills and 11 digs, first-year McKenna Clawson added 15 kills, 12 digs and four blocks, and sophomore Megan Manierski tallied 49 assists. Junior Sierra Crook tacked on 26 digs.

The teams traded runs in the opening set, with the Panthers scoring the first three points, the hosts responding with a 5-0 run, the visitors using 4-0 and 3-0 spurts to lead 12-8, and the Purple Knights netting the next five thanks to a pair of kills by sophomore Megan Priester (Dover, N.H./Dover) that gave Saint Michael's a 13-12 edge. After McNamara and Mulvaney's tandem block kept it 15-14, Adelphi used a 4-0 run to take the lead for good. Mulvaney's kill brought the hosts within 18-16, but the visitors capped their set-ending 11-3 run on senior Shelby Stoner's kill.

McNamara and Priester joined for a block that put Saint Michael's ahead 18-17 in the second set, but Manierski's kill accounted for the 11th tie to spark a 5-0 run that gave Adelphi the first lead by either team that was greater than two points. A service error brought the hosts within 22-19, but Stanislovaitis' kill finished off the clinching 8-2 stretch.

Adelphi forged a 5-3 lead in set No. 3 before Washington dropped three kills in a 6-1 response, and the Purple Knights pushed out to their biggest advantage at 17-10 on Moore's ace. The Panthers scored the next six points before Washington tacked on another kill to push the lead out to 19-16, but Adelphi knotted the set on three occasions, including at 23 apiece after scoring consecutive points. McNamara responded with a go-ahead kill, and an attack error allowed Saint Michael's to clinch the set, bringing the hosts within 2-1 in the match.

The Panthers broke a 5-5 tie with five consecutive points in the fourth set, ultimately leading 12-7 before Washington accounted for three blocks in an 8-3 Saint Michael's run, as Weller's kill knotted the set at 15. However, Adelphi scored 10 of the final 11 points, first using a 7-0 run to take command - Priester's kill chipped the hosts' deficit to 22-16 - before closing the match on Clawson's service ace.

Saint Michael's hosts Pace University on Saturday for Senior Day at 1 p.m.