Women's volleyball falls in SUNY Plattsburgh tournament title match, Flaherty lauded

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. - The Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team split a pair of matches on Saturday during the State University of New York at Plattsburgh's Best Western-Ground Round Cardinal Classic, including advancing to the championship match in Memorial Hall before falling to the hosts, 3-1 (25-22, 28-26, 17-25, 25-23). The Purple Knights, who are now 6-2, also downed Norwich University, 3-0 (25-12, 26-24, 25-17). The Cadets fell to 1-8, while SUNY Plattsburgh is 5-7. Sophomore Kelsey Flaherty (Cold Spring, N.Y./Haldane) was named to the all-tournament team.

During the day, senior Chelsey Covitz (Marshfield, Mass./Marshfield) broke Justine Fletcher's '09 program record for career blocking assists, pushing her total to 136. With 792 kills, she trails former teammate Tracy Peterka '13 by one kill for seventh in program history. Classmate Jess McLeod (Medfield, Mass./Medfield) eclipsed the 3,000-assist plateau on Saturday, now claiming 3,038 for her career. McLeod is one of no more than two players in program annals who could have reached the milestone. However, due to incomplete records from her career, it is unknown whether Carleen Roy '96, who graduated with at least 2,514 assists, also accomplished the feat.

Against Norwich, senior Lindsay Phenix (Tewksbury, Mass./Central Catholic) dropped eight kills, while Flaherty had five kills and five digs. Covitz notched six kills, first-year Catie Weller (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown West) had 13 assists and seven digs in two sets, and McLeod dished out 10 helpers in one set. Junior Hillary Miller (Plattsburgh, N.Y./Plattsburgh/Colby-Sawyer) collected 10 digs, while sophomore Candace Washington (New Carrollton, Md./Parkdale) and first-year Megan Mulvaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) each recorded three blocks.

The Purple Knights turned a slight 5-3 edge in the opening set into a sizeable victory thanks to a 20-9 run, and Covitz notched an ace to clinch the second set, which featured 12 ties. In the final set, Saint Michael's overcame a 13-9 deficit by scoring 16 of the final 20 points.

Flaherty had a well-rounded 12 kills, 16 digs, three aces and three blocks versus the hosts, Covitz tallied 12 kills and six blocks, and Washington tallied 11 kills. McLeod contributed 41 assists and 18 digs, while Phenix and senior Maddie Gaughan (Stoneham, Mass./Stoneham) notched five and three blocks, respectively. First-year Natalie Moore (Burnt Hills, N.Y./Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) provided 33 digs, and classmate Natalia Maccarrone (Hingham, Mass./Notre Dame Academy) posted 21.

Neither team led by more than five points in the opening set, as Saint Michael's trimmed a late deficit to 23-22 before the Cardinals scored the final two points. The Purple Knights had three set points in the next set before SUNY Plattsburgh collected six of the last eight points to take a 2-0 advantage, but the visitors used a 12-4 run to snap a 13-all tie in set No. 3. The Purple and Gold trailed 16-10 in the fourth set before a Washington kill knotted the score at 23, but the Cardinals scored the final two points to clinch the match and the tournament crown.

Saint Michael's kicks off its home slate on Tuesday by facing SUNY Potsdam at 7 p.m.