Women's volleyball wins pair on opening day of Union Invitational

Women's volleyball wins pair on opening day of Union Invitational

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - The Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team won twice on Friday at day one of the two-day Union (N.Y.) College Invitational at the Viniar Athletic Center, downing the State University of New York at Oneonta, 3-1 (25-18, 22-25, 25-18, 25-23), and Skidmore College, 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-21). The Purple Knights improved to 2-1 while dropping their opponents to 8-2 and 2-6, respectively.

In the opener against SUNY Oneonta, which Saint Michael's opposed for the first time since 1986, junior Kelsey Flaherty (Cold Spring, N.Y./Haldane) had 10 kills, eight digs and two blocks, while first-year Megan Priester (Dover, N.H./Dover) also dropped 10 kills. Junior Candace Washington (New Carrollton, Md./Parkdale) posted seven kills and three of her team's 15 service aces. Sophomore Catie Weller (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown West) handed out 35 assists to go along with 10 digs and four aces, and classmate Natalie Moore (Burnt Hills, N.Y./Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) notched 22 digs and four aces. Senior Hillary Miller (Plattsburgh, N.Y./Plattsburgh/Colby-Sawyer) and sophomore Natalia Maccarrone (Hingham, Mass./Notre Dame Academy) both tacked on 10 digs, with Miller contributing a pair of aces.

The Purple Knights scored the first four points of the opening set en route to a 15-3 lead before holding off the Red Dragons' late charge. SUNY Oneonta grabbed a 6-1 edge in the next set before Flaherty and sophomore Megan Mulvaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) combined on a block that capped an 11-5 run and put their squad up 12-11. However, in a 22-22 set, the Red Dragons scored the final three points. Saint Michael's overcame a 5-1 deficit in the third set with a 16-5 run and never again led by fewer than five points. Following the 12th tie of the fourth set, at 23-23, a SUNY Oneonta attack error was followed by Washington's match-clinching kill.

Flaherty posted a match-high 13 kills against Skidmore, and Washington added 12 kills and four blocks. Priester swung at a .474 clip, dropping 10 kills on 19 attempts, while Weller dished out a career-best 42 helpers while adding seven digs. Moore posted nine digs, and first-year Julia Colasanti (Northville, Mich./Northville) had eight. Classmate Hanna Lesch (North Reading, Mass./North Reading) tacked on six kills, and first-year McKenzie McNamara (Pembroke, Mass./Pembroke) had two blocks in her college debut.

Saint Michael's scored the first four points of the opening set before leading by as many as 11 points. Behind the service of Colasanti, the Purple Knights scored five straight points to erase a 5-3 hole and take the lead for good in the second set, with Colasanti's kill capping a late 4-0 run that extended her squad's advantage to 23-16. In the third set, the Purple and Gold snagged a 6-1 advantage and fought off the Thoroughbreds after they cut their deficit to one point on four occasions, with the Purple Knights ultimately using two kills and a block from Washington during a 6-0 run that extended a 15-14 edge. Saint Michael's never again led by fewer than four points, clinching the triumph on a Maccarrone kill.

Saint Michael's takes on host Union tomorrow at 11 a.m. before opposing SUNY Cortland at 1 p.m.