Purple Knights sweep Assumption, Covitz moves into fourth place in kills

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team swept Assumption College, 3-0 (26-24, 29-27, 25-15), on Saturday during Northeast-10 Conference play in the Ross Sports Center, while senior Chelsey Covitz (Marshfield, Mass./Marshfield) moved into fourth place in program history in career kills.

The Purple Knights, now 10-5 overall and 2-3 in the NE-10, are on a three-match winning streak and have posted double-digit victories in four consecutive seasons for the first time in school history. The Greyhounds are 4-13 and 1-7. Saint Michael's has now won 11 of its last 13 meetings with Assumption, moving to 8-2 all time at home in the series.

Sophomore Kelsey Flaherty (Cold Spring, N.Y./Haldane) posted 13 kills for the Purple Knights while adding 18 digs, four aces and three blocks, and senior Brianna Saunders (Litchfield, N.H./Campbell) collected a career-high 10 kills while swinging .333 on the outside. Covitz finished with seven kills and five blocks in her 100th career match, reaching 850 kills to pass Kaitlyn Rae '06 (844) on the program's career kills list. Lindsey Shumway '05 is next, with 904. Senior Jess McLeod (Medfield, Mass./Medfield) handed out 37 assists, and first-year Natalie Moore (Burnt Hills, N.Y./Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) notched 22 digs. Sophomore Candace Washington (New Carrollton, Md./Parkdale) contributed six kills and six blocks, and senior Lindsey Phenix (Tewksbury, Mass./Central Catholic) also had six blocks.

Senior Lauren Ostafin (Avon, Conn./Avon) led Assumption with eight kills and 13 digs, while classmate Alie Carlson (Amston, Conn./RHAM) posted seven kills and three blocks. Senior Kristin Flatekval (Mahwah, N.J./Immaculate Heart) tallied 21 assists, and classmate Jess Reimers (Okemos, Mich./Okemos) tacked on 22 digs.

In a back-and-forth opening set that saw 12 ties and seven lead changes, the Purple Knights turned a 9-6 deficit into a 13-10 lead on the strength of two kills and a block from Washington during a 7-1 run before Ostafin had three kills in a 6-0 response, putting the visitors ahead by a 16-13 count. After still trailing by three at 18-15, Saint Michael's scored five of the next six points, with blocking assists by Covitz and Flaherty giving the hosts a 20-19 edge before ties at 20, 21, 22 and 23 ensued. Assumption led 24-23 and served for the set, but Washington and Flaherty sandwiched kills around a Greyhound attack error to produce a set-clinching 3-0 run.

The second set saw Saint Michael's trail 7-2 before scoring five straight points, but a later 8-8 tie was broken by a 4-0 run by Assumption. The Purple Knights again rallied, with Flaherty dropping two kills and two aces during a 6-0 stretch. The Greyhounds countered with four straight points in grabbing a 16-14 advantage, and the squads played through eight ties down the stretch. After Saunders' three kills keyed an 8-1 run that provided Saint Michael's a 22-17 lead, Assumption scored the next five points. The teams went on to combine for five serves at set point, including the Purple and Gold overcoming a 26-25 deficit, and the Purple Knights made good on their fourth opportunity to win the set when Washington dropped a kill for the 29th point.

An early 12-2 run gave Saint Michael's a 16-4 lead in set No. 3, and the Greyhounds never again trailed by fewer than seven points.

Saint Michael's hits the road to face Saint Anselm College on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.