Women's volleyball ends historic season with 3-1 loss at Saint Rose

Women's volleyball ends historic season with 3-1 loss at Saint Rose

ALBANY, N.Y. - A historic season came to an end on Saturday for the Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team, which lost by a 3-1 (25-22, 30-28, 20-25, 25-20) final at The College of Saint Rose in Nolan Gymnasium during Northeast-10 Conference action. The Purple Knights ended their campaign 12-12 overall and 5-9 in the league while challenging for their first postseason bid in 20 years until their final weekend of the year. Saint Rose is 12-11 and 8-6.

Senior Kelsey Flaherty (Cold Spring, N.Y./Haldane) posted 14 kills, 10 digs and two blocks in her final career match, helping Saint Michael's take a set from Saint Rose on the road for the first time since 2007. Classmate Candace Washington (New Carrollton, Md./Parkdale) notched 10 kills and four blocks, while sophomore Megan Priester (Dover, N.H./Dover) totaled seven kills and two blocks. Junior Catie Weller (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown West) handed out 31 assists while dropping five kills.

Junior Natalia Maccarrone (Hingham, Mass./Notre Dame Academy) totaled 17 digs, her highest count since early in her rookie season, while adding a career-high five aces. Classmate Natalie Moore (Burnt Hills, N.Y./Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) had 13 digs and two aces, while sophomore Julia Colasanti (Northville, Mich./Northville) tacked on 10 digs.

Junior Maryellen Devic notched 17 kills and 13 digs for Saint Rose, while classmate Rachel Salasky had 17 kills. Senior Carissa Dube turned in 10 kills and five blocks, first-year Sam Kubik totaled 27 assists and 11 digs, and junior Erica Ziskin added 27 helpers. Classmate Samantha Atchinson collected 16 digs.

The teams stood tied at 17 for their 10th stalemate of the opening set before Salasky posted back-to-back kills, and another Salasky kill made it 21-18 in favor of the hosts. Saint Michael's chipped within one point twice on Saint Rose errors before yielding three of the final four points.

Washington's kill had the Purple Knights ahead 9-6 in the second set before the Golden Knights countered with the next five points, but the teams later played through eight ties on their way to being knotted at 20. Salasky downed two kills during a 4-0 run to push the hosts to set point, but Saint Michael's scored the next five, with Maccarrone notching four consecutive aces to give the Purple Knights a set point. The hosts twice went back in front by one point before Flaherty tied the set at 27 on a kill and combined with Washington for a go-ahead block, but Saint Rose scored the final three points.

After Salasky's kill brought the hosts within 8-7 in set No. 3, Priester's kill sparked a 3-0 run by the visitors, and kills by Flaherty, Washington and Weller keyed another 3-0 stretch that put Saint Michael's up 16-11. Dube's kill created a 17-15 margin, but the Purple Knights slowly pulled away, clinching the set on a Golden Knight error.

A 16-16 score was the 10th deadlock of the fourth set. Consecutive attack errors by Saint Michael's put Saint Rose ahead for good, as Flaherty's kill brought her side within 18-17 before the hosts countered with the next three points. Another Flaherty kill made it a three-point set, and the Purple Knights again trailed by three at 23-20 before Dube notched a kill and the Saint Michael's season ended on an attack error at match point.

Washington finished as the NE-10 leader in hitting percentage (.348) and blocks per set (1.3) this season, while Moore was second in digs per set (5.9). Washington concluded her career with school records in career (177) and season (81) block assists as well as career hitting percentage (.314), outdistancing the runner-up by 30 points. She is third in career blocks (246) after posting 114 this season, just six shy of Tracy Carlsten's '89 28-year-old school record. Behind 271 kills, the eighth-best season total in Saint Michael's history, Washington's attack percentage was the third-highest ever by a Purple Knight, and the most accurate since Annalyn Gilchrist '98 set the mark of .376 in 1997.

Flaherty ended her career second in attacks (2,815), just 51 shy of Katie Walsh's '13 program record, while matching Keri Forrest '97 for seventh in kills (832). Flaherty is also eighth in digs (935). Weller became the seventh Purple Knight with 1,500 career assists on Saturday, moving into sixth thanks to notching 1,512. Moore collected 544 digs this year, trailing only Stephanie Smetana '09 - who had 583 in 2006 and 555 in 2007 - in school history.

Among its season accomplishments, Saint Michael's came within one victory of its 21-year-old program record for league wins and tied the sixth-highest overall win total in school annals. This year's team had the sixth-highest assist (987), dig (1,545) and block (159) totals in program history while taking 10th in kills (1,057).