Women's volleyball falls to second-place Franklin Pierce, 3-1

Women's volleyball falls to second-place Franklin Pierce, 3-1

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's volleyball squad was tied with second-place Franklin Pierce University through two sets on Tuesday evening before falling by a 3-1 (25-20, 13-25, 25-23, 25-18) count in Ross Sports Center during Northeast-10 Conference play. The Purple Knights, who opened a three-match homestand, are 11-9 overall and 4-6 in the league, while the Ravens improved to 16-7 and 10-1.

Senior Candace Washington (New Carrollton, Md./Parkdale) had 12 kills for the hosts, classmate Kelsey Flaherty (Cold Spring, N.Y./Haldane) notched 10 kills and 11 digs, while sophomore Megan Priester (Dover, N.H./Dover) posted 10 kills. Junior Megan Mulvaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) added nine kills, and classmate Catie Weller (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown West) handed out 46 assists with eight digs.

Junior Natalie Moore (Burnt Hills, N.Y./Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) had a match-high 26 digs, sophomore Julia Colasanti (Northville, Mich./Northville) tallied 11 digs and two aces, and junior Natalia Maccarrone (Hingham, Mass./Notre Dame Academy) contributed nine digs. Sophomore McKenzie McNamara (Pembroke, Mass./Pembroke) tabulated five kills and three blocks, and first-year Sarah Rodgers (Cheshire, Conn./Cheshire) dropped a pair of aces.

During the evening, Flaherty pushed her career dig total to 904, passing head coach Kelly Garthwait Mahl '10 (896) for eighth place in program history, and with 792 kills, she is one shy of Tracy Peterka '13 for eighth in that category. Moore improved her dig figure to 1,346, closing in on Courtney Dunne '13 (1,373) for second all time.

Sophomore Madison Klusendorf led Franklin Pierce with 21 kills and 10 digs, first-year Katie Leidhold had 18 kills and 13 digs, while classmate Abigail Sonuga posted 12 kills. Sophomore Hannah Runge collected 54 assists and 12 digs, and senior Sarah MacHugh added 20 digs.

Saint Michael's dashed out to a 5-1 edge in the opening set behind a pair of Mulvaney kills before Franklin Pierce charged back with 10 of the next 13 points to nab an 11-8 lead. The hosts chipped their deficit to two points on a pair of occasions, but the Ravens began pulling away, forging a late 22-15 advantage. Flaherty's kill was followed by a Moore ace and consecutive Franklin Pierce attack errors, drawing the Purple Knights within three points, but Klusendorf notched a pair of kills during a clinching 3-1 run.

Seven ties occurred by the time the teams stood tied at 8-8 early in the second set, at which point Saint Michael's embarked on a set-ending 17-5 run to tie the match. Flaherty, Mulvaney and Washington notched two kills apiece in that time, and the visitors aided the jaunt with eight attack errors.

The Purple Knights carried that momentum into a 7-1 lead to begin the third set behind two Washington kills and Colasanti's service, but Klusendorf's two kills sparked an 8-1 counter. Saint Michael's snapped a 10-all knot with a 7-2 stretch, giving it a 17-12 lead, but the Ravens put together another 8-1 response to go back on top, as Sonuga had three kills. Washington dropped back-to-back kills to tie the set at 20, but the visitors notched the next two points. Saint Michael's chipped within a point three more times, all on Priester kills, before Leidhold's kill clinched the set.

McNamara turned in two kills and a block during a 5-0 run that broke a 5-5 deadlock in set No. 4, but the Purple Knights' later 13-8 lead was wiped out with a tying 7-2 run, as Klusendorf had three kills. Priester's kill handed the hosts a 17-16 edge before Franklin Pierce ended the match on a 9-1 run, during which time Runge had two kills and two aces.

The Purple Knights host defending NE-10 Championship winner Adelphi University on Friday at 6 p.m.