MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team returned to action for the first time in 11 days with a 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-12) loss to Middlebury College at Pepin Gymnasium on Wednesday. The Purple Knights slipped to 2-2 overall while the Panthers improved to 4-3.
First-year Jordan Dean (Gilford, N.H./Gilford) notched a season-high nine kills for the visitors, and sophomore Gabby Ratte (Kula, Hawaii/Seabury Hall/Colby-Sawyer) totaled seven kills and seven digs. Senior Catie Weller (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown West) had a well-rounded 19 assists, 12 digs, three kills and two aces, while junior Julia Colasanti (Northville, Mich./Northville) notched six helpers to go along with seven digs.
Senior Natalie Moore (Burnt Hills, N.Y./Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) had 25 digs to join Stephanie Smetana '09 (1,733) as the only Purple Knights ever with 1,500 digs for a career. Now at 1,519, Moore is the 21st current Division II player at 1,500. Classmate Natalia Maccarrone (Hingham, Mass./Notre Dame Academy) added seven digs.
Sophomore Isabel Sessions led Middlebury with 13 kills, and junior Alice Roberts tacked on nine. First-year Chellsa Ferdinand handed out 28 assists with eight digs, and juniors Emily Kolodka and Becca Raffel both collected 11 digs.
The Panthers scored four straight points to break open a 2-2 first set, but Ratte posted two kills in a 4-0 counter, forcing the first of four ties before the Purple Knights used a 3-0 spurt to go ahead 13-12 on consecutive ball-handling errors by the hosts. A 7-2 run by Middlebury put it ahead 19-15 before Dean's kill sparked a 3-0 run, but the Panthers used a 6-1 run to end the set.
After trailing 5-2 in set No. 2, the visitors twice rallied to tie, but the Panthers slowly pulled away behind an 8-4 run to lead 17-13. With Weller at the service line, Saint Michael's put together a 7-0 run, with Weller dropping two aces and Dean notching two kills, and the Purple Knights still led 21-18 before the hosts scored the next three points. Ratte's go-ahead kill was met by one from Ferdinand and, after the visitors went ahead 23-22 on an attack error, Middlebury scored the final three points to clinch the set.
In the third set, the teams stood tied at five before the Panthers scored 20 of the final 27 points.
The Purple Knights play three of their next four matches at home, beginning by taking on Merrimack College on Saturday at 1 p.m. to begin a two-match weekend.