Women's volleyball drops pair of narrow sets in 3-1 loss at Pace

Women's volleyball drops pair of narrow sets in 3-1 loss at Pace

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. - The Saint Michael's College women's volleyball team took the opening set before falling at Pace University, 3-1 (25-27, 25-13, 28-26, 25-22), on Saturday in the Goldstein Fitness Center. The Purple Knights, who lost the final two sets by a combined five points, are 3-14 overall and 1-11 in the Northeast-10 Conference. The Setters improved to 20-7 and 6-5.

First-year Jordan Dean (Gilford, N.H./Gilford) notched a career-high and match-high-tying 16 kills for the visitors, adding eight digs, while junior McKenzie McNamara (Pembroke, Mass./Pembroke) had five kills and a career-high 10 blocks, including four solo. Senior Megan Mulvaney (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown East) also totaled five kills along with a career-high-tying seven blocks, becoming the eighth player in program history with 100 blocking assists (104). Junior Megan Priester (Dover, N.H./Dover) and first-year Tanner Barton (Hudson Falls, N.Y./Hudson Falls) both totaled four kills, with Barton's coming in two sets in her college debut.

Both Purple Knight setters turned in double-doubles, as senior Catie Weller (Smithtown, N.Y./Smithtown West) accumulated 19 assists and 15 digs, while sophomore Sarah Rodgers (Cheshire, Conn./Cheshire) notched 10 helpers, 12 digs and three service aces. Senior Natalie Moore (Burnt Hills, N.Y./Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) recorded 41 of her team's 115 digs, coming within one of her three-year-old career high, and added five assists. By extending her school record to 1,810 digs, she became the 17th active player at Division II to surpass 1,800. Junior Julia Colasanti (Northville, Mich./Northville) totaled a career-best 24 digs. Saint Michael's turned in its highest dig total since tallying 139 on Oct. 14, 2006, during a five-set match.

Sophomore Kathleen Benson had 16 kills on .485 hitting for Pace, adding five blocks, and classmate Claudia Fontanet had 11 kills, 20 digs and three aces. First-year Samantha Nidini posted 46 assists and 12 digs, and classmate Danielle Vaiano notched 37 digs.

Saint Michael's had 12 kills to the Setters' 10 in the opening set, which featured three early ties before the Setters used a 14-7 run to lead 20-12. Still down 23-15, the Purple Knights stormed back to take the set, putting together a 12-2 run and fighting off two set points. Facing a 24-19 deficit, the visitors received a kill, assist and block from sophomore Gabby Ratte (Kula, Hawaii/Seabury Hall/Colby-Sawyer) during a tying 5-0 stretch. After an error gave Pace a 25-24 edge and a serve for the set, three straight Setter errors handed the visitors the win.

Set No. 2 started with a 22-4 run by Pace, which employed four kills by Benson and three aces to grab the big advantage. A 6-0 Purple Knight stretch ensued, with McNamara collecting a kill and two blocks, but Saint Michael's came no closer. Pace pulled out of a 3-3 tie in the third set with a 5-0 run, with Fontanet posting two kills, but the Purple and Gold responded with a 13-3 jaunt, as McNamara turned in four blocks while Mulvaney had one kill and two blocks. Saint Michael's led 24-19, sitting one point from victory, before the Setters netted the next six points, but Dean knotted the set with a kill before an error made it 26-25 in favor of the visitors. However, Pace scored the final three points, going ahead on Fontanet's kill and winning on an attack error.

The teams played through 15 ties in the fourth set, with neither team leading by more than two points until the Setters broke a 22-all knot with the final three points, as Fontanet's kill put her team on top for good, and she ended the match with an ace.

With their road slate complete, the Purple Knights host Le Moyne College next Friday at 5 p.m.