THROGGS NECK, N.Y. (Sept. 21, 2014) – The United States Merchant Marine Academy Women's Volleyball team continued to impress this weekend at the Fifth Annual Maritime Classic hosted by SUNY Maritime. The team began with a striking 3 set win over Massachusetts Maritime on Saturday afternoon and then continued to blaze past Maine Maritime and SUNY on Sunday in straight sets.
On Saturday, the team took on the Massachusetts Maritime Buccaneers for the first time in two years. The team racked up 18 aces, 33 kills, and 14 digs as they cruised by the Buccaneers in three sets. The match began with a .357 hitting percentage from the Mariners holding Massachusetts Maritime to just 2 kills on the set. Lead by Cassandra Palma (Loomis, CA) who scored 6 kills on 10 attempts in the first, and 10 of the team kills on the match, the Mariners advanced to a 9-1 record (25-10, 25-6, 25-11).
USMMA returned on Sunday for another great day at the Maritime Classic by first knocking out the Maine Maritime Mariners in three sets (25-9, 25-12, 25-19) and advancing to 10-1 on the season. Kings Point had 38 kills, 34 digs, and 13 service aces while holding Maine Maritime to just 14 kills on the entire match. Michelle Danhof (San Antonio, TX), and Darin Zacharias (Virginia Beach, VA) lead the defense with 9 and 7 digs respectfully. With the front row pressure from USMMA working well they were able to hold Maine Maritime to a -.070 attacking percentage on the match. Palma (Loomis, CA) lead the USMMA attack team again with 11 kills on the match while hitting a .556 clip.
For the third and final match of the Maritime Classic, the Kings Point team followed the three set sweep pattern that had worked against MA and ME. The Mariners held the SUNY Maritime Privateers to just 7 points in the first set and continued to keep the pressure on throughout the match. Hitting a .306 clip with 33 kills on the match, it was the KP defense and free ball passing that lead to incredible performances from the attack team and freshman setter Kayla Gleason (Sound Beach, NY) with 25 assists. At 8 and 6 digs respectfully, Zacharias and Danhof contributed significantly (25-7, 25-20, 25-14).
USMMA Head Coach Iain Bradbury remarked on the weekend: "We are so thankful to Heather [SUNY Athletics Director] and the SUNY Maritime program for hosting a great tournament. It was amazing to really see our program shine amongst other maritime volleyball programs. We are still finding our way, though we played tough, we did what we had to do and stayed focused on our goals. We're taking this season one match at a time and sticking to our game. Our upperclassmen leadership, mixed with talent and contributions from every member of this program, have made this season a lot of fun so far. We love what we're doing out there and we're excited to get started with Landmark this week."
After securing the title of Tournament Champions, the USMMA Mariners are at 11-1 on the season. Freshman setter Kayla Gleason was named to the all-tournament team and senior middle blocker Jennifer Perkins (North Attleboro, MA) was named tournament Most Valuable Player.
The Mariners head to Scranton PA for their first conference match of the season on Tuesday September 23rd. The first serve is set for 7:00pm EST.