EASTON, Mass. - After rallying for a late opening-set victory, the Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team dropped a narrow decision in the next set and ultimately fell to Stonehill College, 3-1 (24-26, 25-22, 25-12, 25-14), on Saturday at Merkert Gymnasium. The Purple Knights slipped to 5-4 overall and 0-2 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Skyhawks are 10-3 and 3-0, having taken over the league lead in overall and conference victories.
First-year Megan Priester (Dover, N.H./Dover) notched 12 kills on 28 attacks to lead the visitors, while junior Candace Washington (New Carrollton, Md./Parkdale) totaled seven kills on 15 swings. Both had two blocks. Junior Kelsey Flaherty (Cold Spring, N.Y./Haldane) added seven kills and 17 digs, sophomore Catie Weller (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown West) recorded 26 assists and seven digs, and classmate Natalie Moore (Burnt Hills, N.Y./Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) posted 18 digs. Sophomore Natalia Maccarrone (Hingham, Mass./Notre Dame Academy) tacked on nine digs.
Junior Delia Phillips (Saint James, N.Y./Smithtown East) led Stonehill with 24 kills and 15 digs, and senior Meaghan Lee (Hanover, Mass./Notre Dame Academy) had 17 kills on 25 attacks to go along with four blocks. Classmate Emily Iverson (Elmhurst, Ill./York) collected 55 assists and 11 digs, and first-year Claire Manuszak (Indianapolis, Ind./Bishop Chatard) accumulated 19 digs.
A 19-15 lead by Stonehill marked the only time either team led by more than three points in the opening set, and the Purple Knights eventually trailed 23-21. After a kill by Priester and a Skyhawk attack error tied the score, the hosts nabbed a 24-23 edge, but Priester dropped a tying kill, and Stonehill had back-to-back errors to conclude the set.
Saint Michael's forged an 8-3 lead in the second set and continued to maintain an advantage until a kill by Phillips tied the score at 15. The Purple Knights countered with the next four points, but Stonehill responded with an 8-1 run of its own to make it 23-20. Weller and Flaherty then notched consecutive kills, but the hosts tallied the last two points.
The Purple and Gold scored the first three points in set No. 3, but Stonehill finished on a 25-9 run to claim the match advantage. In what became the final set, Weller dropped an ace for the first point before the Skyhawks went on an 11-1 run. Saint Michael's posted six of seven points during one stretch, and Flaherty's kill brought her team within 15-11 before Stonehill concluded the match riding a 10-3 jaunt.
The Purple Knights conclude a three-match road swing at 2013 NCAA Tournament qualifier Franklin Pierce University on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.