COLCHESTER, Vt. - For the second straight Senior Day, the Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team overcame a two-set deficit to claim victory, knocking off American International College, 3-2 (23-25, 19-25, 25-15, 25-21, 15-6), on Saturday in Ross Sports Center. In the Purple and Gold's first victory over AIC since Oct. 2, 2004, which snapped a nine-match series losing streak, the Purple Knights finished the fall 7-14 overall and 2-12 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Yellow Jackets are 6-24 and 2-12.
Junior Kelsey Flaherty (Cold Spring, N.Y./Haldane) had 17 kills, 11 digs and four aces for Saint Michael's, while classmate Candace Washington (New Carrollton, Md./Parkdale) posted 10 kills and a career-high-tying nine blocks, playing a major role in her squad's 13 total blocks. Washington finished the year with 73 blocks, the eighth-best total in school history. Sophomore Megan Mulvaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) had six kills and a career-high seven blocks, and first-year McKenzie McNamara (Pembroke, Mass./Pembroke) totaled six kills and a season-high four blocks.
Sophomore Catie Weller (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown West) had 38 assists, nine digs and three blocks, while classmate Natalie Moore (Burnt Hills, N.Y./Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) notched 24 digs and two aces. In her final college match, senior Hillary Miller (Plattsburgh, N.Y./Plattsburgh/Colby-Sawyer) had 11 digs, and sophomore Natalia Maccarrone (Hingham, Mass./Notre Dame Academy) also notched 11. Moore finished the season with 469 digs, the fifth-highest total in program history. With 885 career digs, she passed Tracy Peterka '13 (873) for eighth in school annals and is just 11 shy of head coach Kelly Garthwait '10 (896) for seventh.
Senior Phoebe Lettington (Irvine, Calif./Woodbridge) had 10 kills to pace AIC, while sophomore Lauren Pires (Dartmouth, Mass./Dartmouth) turned in eight kills and 13 blocks. Junior Franny Sanchez (Ossining, N.Y./Ossining) totaled 21 digs, and first-year Amanda Encinas (Whittier, Calif./Saint Paul) had a team-high 15 assists as one of six players with at least one helper.
Behind two Flaherty kills and the service of Moore, Saint Michael's scored the first six points of the match and led 12-4 before the Yellow Jackets quickly countered with a 10-3 run, trimming their deficit to 15-14. The Purple Knights reestablished a three-point edge four times, including at 21-18, but AIC scored the next four points. After first-year Megan Priester (Dover, N.H./Dover) dropped a tying kill, the visitors notched the next two points before a Flaherty kill made it 24-23, but Lettington's kill clinched the set.
After the hosts scored the first two points of the next set, AIC went on a 4-1 run to take the lead for good. Down just 8-7, Saint Michael's yielded five straight points and climbed within three points three times but no closer.
Down 2-0 in sets, the Purple Knights opened set No. 3 with the first four points and an 8-2 edge before the Yellow Jackets trimmed the hole to three points on two occasions. Saint Michael's led 14-8 before AIC scored four straight, but behind the service of Priester, the hosts netted the next five points and pulled away, leading by a set-high 10 points on the final point.
Saint Michael's led 6-1 in the fourth set before the Yellow Jackets slowly came back to tie at 12, ultimately leading 16-15 before the Purple Knights scored the next four points. AIC countered with a 4-0 run of its own, but Flaherty notched back-to-back aces to cap a 3-0 run and give the hosts a 22-20 edge. After a Yellow Jacket kill, the Purple Knights scored the last three points, tying the match when McNamara and Mulvaney combined for a block.
In the fifth and deciding set, AIC scored the first two points before Saint Michael's countered with an 11-0 run, during which Washington had two kills and three blocks, and Flaherty notched three kills. Weller also dished out five assists and picked up two blocks. The visitors never again came closer than eight points.