Balanced effort leads women's volleyball past Southern New Hampshire, 3-1

Balanced effort leads women's volleyball past Southern New Hampshire, 3-1

COLCHESTER, Vt. - A balanced all-around effort led the Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team past Southern New Hampshire University, 3-1 (25-22, 22-25, 25-13, 25-17), on Tuesday evening in the Ross Sports Center. The Purple Knights, who downed the Penmen for the second time since 2003, are 3-5 overall and 1-3 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while Southern New Hampshire slipped to 3-14 and 1-4.

Sophomore Mairin King (Melrose, Mass./Mystic Valley Regional Charter School), who entered the match with 19 kills in 10 career matches, totaled a match-high 11 kills with two blocks while hitting .429. Classmate Gabby Ratte (Kula, Hawaii/Seabury Hall/Colby-Sawyer) had 10 kills and swung .350, while junior McKenzie McNamara (Pembroke, Mass./Pembroke) turned in nine kills, six digs and two aces. First-year Jordan Dean (Gilford, N.H./Gilford) had nine kills and two blocks, dropping four kills on .571 hitting in the fourth set alone.

Sophomore Sarah Rodgers (Cheshire, Conn./Cheshire) collected 19 assists and a career-high 18 digs, while senior Catie Weller (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown West) also tallied 19 helpers while tacking on 11 digs. Classmate Natalie Moore (Burnt Hills, N.Y./Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake), the NCAA Division II leader in digs per set, had 22 digs and three assists, while senior Natalia Maccarrone (Hingham, Mass./Notre Dame Academy) and junior Julia Colasanti (Northville, Mich./Northville) both turned in 14 digs. The Purple Knights, who lead the nation in digs per set, exceeded their average of 20.8 by collecting 93 for the evening, or 23.3 per set.

Senior Victoria Wehrmann led the Penmen with 10 kills, but hit -.067 with one kill in the final two sets after opening with nine kills and a .412 attack clip in the opening two sets. Three others had seven kills, among them junior Marisa Coronis, who had four blocks. First-year Joanne Coffey handed off 17 assists with 10 digs and two aces, and junior Kathleen Schurman notched 23 digs.

Neither team led by more than three points during the early portion of the opening set until the Purple Knights pushed an 11-8 edge to 21-11 behind a Colasanti ace and kills by four different players. Southern New Hampshire stormed back with an 11-2 run, edging within 23-22 on Wehrmann's kill, but King dropped a kill before a Penmen attack error clinched the set for the hosts.

The visitors grabbed a 5-1 lead in the second set and countered a Purple Knight 3-0 run with a 4-0 jaunt of their own, but they later saw a 17-13 advantage washed out when the Purple and Gold pulled ahead with six straight points. Saint Michael's still led by two at 20-18, but first-year Amanda Costales had two kills in a 5-0 run. King's kill was followed by a visitor error, bringing the hosts within 23-22, but a Wehrmann kill and an error ended the set.

Saint Michael's quickly pulled away in set No. 3, leading 11-2 greatly thanks to the strong service of Rodgers and two kills apiece from McNamara, Ratte and senior Megan Mulvaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East). The Purple Knights never again led by fewer than eight points.

Mulvaney's kill made it 4-1 in her team's favor during the fourth set, and the Penmen trimmed their deficit to one point three times before using a 4-0 run to pull ahead 15-14 on Coffey's ace. Saint Michael's responded with a match-clinching 11-2 run, with McKenzie serving for much of a go-ahead 6-0 run, in which she notched two aces and Dean had two kills. Up by a narrow 20-17 margin, the hosts scored the final five points, as King posted back-to-back kills before Dean registered consecutive kills of her own, and the duo joined for a block on the deciding point.

The Purple Knights head to the State University of New York at Plattsburgh on Thursday at 7 p.m.