Women's volleyball overcomes two-set deficit to knock off Saint Anselm, 3-2

Women's volleyball overcomes two-set deficit to knock off Saint Anselm, 3-2

MANCHESTER, N.H. - The Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team rallied from two sets down to knock off Saint Anselm College, 3-2 (20-25, 20-25, 25-10, 25-23, 15-11), on Friday evening during Northeast-10 Conference play in Stoutenburgh Gym. The Purple Knights, now 9-6 overall and 2-3 in the league after playing only their second match in 13 days, beat the Hawks for the first time since 2010, and on the road for the first time since 2007. Saint Anselm is 6-10 and 2-4.

Senior Candace Washington (New Carrollton, Md./Parkdale) and sophomore Megan Priester (Dover, N.H./Dover) both posted 18 kills for Saint Michael's, both their career best in an NE-10 match. Washington hit .414 while adding six blocks to tie Lindsey Frazier '11 for third in program history with 206 for a career, and Priester swung at a .389 clip. Senior Kelsey Flaherty (Cold Spring, N.Y./Haldane) posted 16 kills and 15 digs, and junior Catie Weller (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown West) totaled a career-high 60 assists to go along with 13 digs, four kills and two blocks. Weller's assist count was the most by a Purple Knight since Jessica Mulroy '06 had 61 on Oct. 15, 2005.

Junior Natalie Moore (Burnt Hills, N.Y./Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) turned in 21 digs and five assists, sophomore Julia Colasanti (Northville, Mich./Northville) totaled 11 digs, and junior Megan Mulvaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) tacked on seven kills and five blocks. First-year Mairin King (Melrose, Mass./Mystic Valley Regional Charter School) had four kills on eight attacks, hitting .375, while turning in a pair of blocks.

First-year Sarah Lowery totaled 19 kills for Saint Anselm, sophomore Katy Teets added 13 kills, 10 digs and five aces, and first-year Jewel Hays notched 46 assists and 10 digs. Junior CC Chrisom paced the defense with 16 digs.

Neither team led by more than three points until the latter stages of the opening set, as the Purple Knights scored the opening two points on Hawk attack errors before the hosts countered with a 6-1 run as the first of two three-point edges. A Washington kill tied the teams at 12, but Saint Anselm scored eight of the next 11 points to nab a 20-15 advantage. Priester notched a kill and Weller an ace to pull Saint Michael's within 20-17, but the hosts closed with a 5-3 stretch.

Seven ties occurred during set No. 2, with Washington and Weller combining for a block to create the final knot at 12 points apiece, and Flaherty dropped a go-ahead kill for the next point before the Hawks countered with a 4-0 run to take the last lead. Saint Michael's crept within a pair of points four times, including as Priester downed a kill to make it 20-18, but Saint Anselm scored the next four points to take control.

Flaherty and Washington recorded two kills apiece to key a 9-1 run that opened the third set, and the Hawks never again trailed by fewer than seven points. The Purple Knights ended the set on a 7-2 run to pull ahead by their largest count, at 15 points. The visitors connected for a .355 hitting percentage in the set to Saint Anselm's -.033.

Washington had two blocks and a kill in an opening 5-0 run in the fourth set, and Weller's kill made it 9-3 before the Hawks scored seven of the next eight points to create a 10-10 deadlock. However, King notched a kill to kick off a 3-0 response, and the Purple Knights twice pushed their advantage to five, including at 22-17 on a Priester kill. Saint Anselm scored the next four points to force the first of three one-point deficits, but Saint Michael's countered with a kill each time, as King and Mulvaney made it 23-21 and 24-22, respectively, before Washington tied the match with a kill.

In the fifth and deciding set, the visitors connected at a .346 clip compared to the hosts' .167 attack percentage. The Purple Knights rattled off the first four points, keyed by a kill and a block by Washington, and still led 5-1 after another Washington kill, but sophomore Amanda Bickford's kill brought Saint Anselm within 6-5. After a Priester kill and a Hawk error allowed Saint Michael's to nab a three-point edge, the hosts came back to tie on first-year Julia Keeler's kill, and a go-ahead Saint Anselm service error was met by Lowery's tying kill, making it 9-9. The Purple Knights responded with the next four points, with Mulvaney dropping two kills, including while producing the final lead change. Saint Anselm later made it 13-11, but an attack error by the hosts was followed by Washington's closing kill that completed the comeback victory.

The Purple Knights return to Ross Sports Center on Saturday to kick off a three-match homestand against Assumption College at 1 p.m. The contest also marks the beginning of a seven-match stretch during which six occur at home.