Purple Knights drop five-setter in NE-10 play to Southern New Hampshire

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team fell to Southern New Hampshire University, 3-2 (22-25, 23-25, 25-18, 25-22, 15-8), in a Northeast-10 Conference tilt on Wednesday at Ross Sports Center. After the loss, the Purple Knights drop to 10-12 overall and 2-9 in the league, while the Penmen improve to 11-12 and 3-8.

Senior Katie Walsh (North Kingstown, R.I./The Prout School) posted 19 kills, 16 digs and four service aces for Saint Michael's, while classmate Tracy Peterka (Newport Beach, Calif./Mater Dei) added 11 kills and 14 digs. Junior Jess McLeod (Medfield, Mass./Medfield) handed out 43 assists while collecting 19 digs, and first-year Kelsey Flaherty (Cold Spring, N.Y./Haldane) finished with eight kills and 18 digs. Junior Chelsey Covitz (Marshfield, Mass./Marshfield) tallied 10 kills, while senior Courtney Dunne (Hopkinton, Mass./Bancroft School) gathered 31 digs.

First-year Emma Houlihan (Shoreham, N.Y./Shoreham-Wading River) led Southern New Hampshire with 17 kills, and classmate Nina McGouldrick (Richardson, Texas/Richardson) recorded 12 kills and 18 digs. Sophomore Kendra Mikuta (Orland Park, Ill./Carl Sandburg) tallied 36 assists, 24 digs and four aces, while senior Erica Solomon (Islip Terrace, N.Y./East Islip) finished with 11 kills and 18 digs. Junior Ashlee Daoust (Brookline, N.H./Hollis-Brookline) registered 10 kills and 13 digs, and first-year Maeghan Higgins (Hesperia, Calif./Hesperia) had 16 digs. First-year Catherine Cotton (Murphy, Texas/Wylie) notched 21 assists and 11 digs.

The Purple Knights started the first set with a 15-12 advantage before the Penman went a 7-1 run to climb ahead, 19-16. Saint Michael's pieced together a 7-1 run of its own to grab a 23-20 advantage. The Purple Knights took two of the final four points to win the set. Saint Michael's had a 5-2 lead to begin the second frame when Southern New Hampshire won seven consecutive points, including on three aces from Mikuta, to move in front, 9-5. The Purple Knights answered with a 6-0 run to take an 11-9 lead, but the Penmen followed with a 5-0 run to regain the lead at 14-11. After ties at 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21, Saint Michael's took four points in the row to win the set after trailing 23-21.

The hosts took three of the first four points of the third set before Southern New Hampshire went on a 10-2 run to grab an 11-5 lead. The Purple Knights pulled back to trail 22-18, but the Penmen won three straight points to take the set. The visitors began the fourth set with a 5-1 advantage before Saint Michael's drew even at 16 apiece. The teams were tied again at 19, but Southern New Hampshire closed out the frame by winning six of the final nine points.

After the Purple Knights took two of the first three points of the fifth set, the Penmen used a 7-2 run to claim an 8-4 lead. Saint Michael's was within 10-7 before Southern New Hampshire won five of the final six points to win the match-clinching set.

The Purple Knights are back in action on Friday when they host Le Moyne College at 7 p.m.