SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team rallied from one set down to take the lead before succumbing to American International College, 3-2 (25-19, 13-25, 21-25, 25-21, 15-4), on Friday evening in Butova Gymnasium. The Purple Knights are 11-8 overall and 4-5 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Yellow Jackets moved to 12-9 and 6-4. In a series dominated by AIC, Saint Michael's won at least one set in Springfield for the first time since 2007, the second of consecutive 3-2 setbacks in the Yellow Jackets' home gym.
During their only match in a current nine-day stretch, the Purple Knights received 17 kills and three blocks from senior Candace Washington (New Carrollton, Md./Parkdale), who swung at a .484 clip. Sophomore Megan Priester (Dover, N.H./Dover) notched nine kills, while senior Kelsey Flaherty (Cold Spring, N.Y./Haldane) turned in eight kills and 10 digs. Junior Megan Mulvaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) recorded eight kills and five blocks while hitting .348, and classmate Catie Weller (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown West) handed out 36 assists. Junior Natalie Moore (Burnt Hills, N.Y./Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) notched 26 digs and two aces, and classmate Natalia Maccarrone (Hingham, Mass./Notre Dame Academy) contributed nine digs and two aces.
Junior Natalija Dordevic tallied 29 kills on .490 hitting with four blocks for AIC, and first-year Diva Rivas-Reyes totaled 20 kills. Sophomore Annie Boele added 14 kills and 10 digs, first-year Roxana Wenger posted 56 assists and 12 digs, and sophomore Mercy Rivera tacked on 34 digs.
The teams' 10-10 tie was the eighth of the opening set, as neither led by more than two points until the Yellow Jackets' ensuing 5-0 spurt gave them breathing room. Boele had three kills in that time. Saint Michael's inched within three points three times, including as Maccarrone dropped consecutive aces to make it 19-16, but AIC slowly pulled away with six of the final eight points. In set No. 2, the Purple Knights forged a 7-0 advantage on the strength of Moore's service. Saint Michael's continued to lead by no fewer than six points the rest of the way, using a set-ending 7-3 run to nab its biggest advantage at 12 points.
In an 8-8 third set, the Purple and Gold netted the next five points, with Mulvaney and Priester notching kills. AIC later edged as close as one point on two occasions, at 18-17 and 21-20, but sophomore McKenzie McNamara (Pembroke, Mass./Pembroke) countered the latter with a kill to kick off a 4-1 jaunt. Dordevic's two kills keyed a 6-1 start to the fourth set for AIC, and Saint Michael's ultimately trailed by as many as seven points. The visitors closed to within three points in the latter stages on a trio of occasions, including when Washington's kill made it 24-21, but Dordevic finished the set with a kill.
After Flaherty's kill left the Purple Knights down 2-1 early in the second set, AIC scored the next eight points to pull away. Dordevic had four kills in that time. Saint Michael's never again trailed by fewer than eight points.
The Purple and Gold hosts its final three regular-season home matches next week, beginning on Tuesday against Franklin Pierce University at 7 p.m.