Kings Point, NY – The USMMA volleyball team rolled to a pair of 3-0 victories in day two of the 2012 Kings Point Invitational. The Mariners finished the weekend with a 2-1 record, good for second place in the event. Rutgers-Newark was crowned tournament champions with a 3-0 record, defeating USMMA in a five set affair last night. Michelle Danhof (San Antonio, TX) and Riley Huelbig (Poolesvile, MD) were the two Mariners who earned a spot on the all-tournament team.
Merchant Marine (2-1) dominated the opening match of the day, totaling 39 kills with a blistering a .389 hitting percentage against New Rochelle. Danhoff ripped 16 total kills along with just one error against the Blue Angels, good for a .577 swinging mark. The Mariners blew open the first set with a 7-0 run on the serve of Paige Queen (Falcon, CO). The sophomore ended the surge with one of USMMA's 13 aces of the match. The opening frame ended 25-15 in favor of the home team following a Blue Angels service miscue.
The Mariners surged off the bench in the second set, claiming the first five points, two of which came on kills from Charlene Swick (Incline Village, NV). Merchant Marine cruised through the middle game and back-to-back kills from Kelly Hodges (Lakewood, CA) and Swick to give USMMA the 25-12 triumph. Huelbig, the USMMA red-shirt freshman setter, dished out 28 assists in the Mariners' victory over the Blue Angels.
New Rochelle (0-3) would be unable to stop another early run from USMMA. This time Merchant Marine built a 10-2 cushion as Danhof notched five kills over that stretch. The Mariners finished the set, 25-11, and secured the sweep on back-to-back service aces from Swick. Swick finished the match with six kills on six swings for a perfect 1.000 hitting percentage. The Mariners defense was solid all-around as Danhof, Hodges, Palma, and libero Candice Dunagan (Hamilton, MT) all posted a match high seven digs.
Farmingdale State (1-2) provided a much stiffer challenge in the opening set of the event's final match. The Mariners found themselves in a late hole, 23-20, as Head Coach James Seitelman called the team's final timeout. USMMA responded to their coaches' challenge and claimed the next four points, which included a pair of aces from Huelbig. Hodges made it five straight for the home team, securing the first set, 25-23, with one of her four kills of the match.
Palma anchored the Mariners defense in the contest, racking up a match high 12 digs. USMMA dominated throughout the middle set, using a 13-2 run to gain all the momentum. The Rams would finish the set with two straight errors as Merchant Marine went up 2-0 overall with the 25-14 win.
USMMA would again use a key run in the middle of the third set to take command and all but seal the match. The Mariners engineered a 9-1 rally that made it 22-11 in favor of USMMA. Dunagan put the final point to the floor with a kill to round out the scoreboard at 25-15 in the final set. Merchant Marine was lethal at the service line against the Rams, totaling 17 aces.
Kings Point returns to the court this Tuesday for a match-up with John Jay. The match, originally scheduled for 7:30 PM will now take place at 5:00 PM inside O'Hara Hall.
2012 Kings Point Invitational All-Tournament Team
R-N: Rachel Witt (MVP)
R-N: Stephanie Touzan
R-N: Jen Mendoza
USMMA: Riley Huelbig
USMMA: Michelle Danhof
CNR: Kristina Nilaj
FSC: Sarah Palladino