PATCHOGUE, N.Y. (Oct. 14, 2015) – On Tuesday night, the USMMA women's volleyball team went the distance to defeat St. Joseph's of Long Island, 3-2, at the Golden Eagles' Danzi Athletic Center. The win improves the Mariners' record to 13-9 overall, while SJC falls to 10-12.
Merchant Marine dropped the first set, 25-22. St. Joseph's rallied late to overcome a 19-16 deficit with seven straight points, but the Mariners responded with three straight to come back within one, 23-22. A USMMA attack error followed by a kill by Golden Eagle sophomore Claire Urizzo clinched the set for the hosts.
The second set was very close throughout, as no team led by more than four points at any point. Merchant Marine had set-point at 24-22, but back-to-back kills by St. Joe's even the score up at 24-apiece. The Mariners responded with a kill by sophomore Dominique Pope (Silver Spring, Md.) to get to set-point once again, but the Eagles quickly tied it up once again. USMMA wrapped up the set with two straight points off a kill by sophomore Kayla Gleason (Sound Beach, N.Y.) followed by a service ace by junior Gabby Marionakis (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) to win 27-25.
The Mariners fell behind early in the third set, 11-7, but pieced together a comeback that saw them eventually take the lead at 14-13. They then finished the set on an 11-6 run to take a 2-1 lead in the match overall with the 25-19 third-set victory.
After back-and-forth action to start the fourth set, the Golden Eagles went on to take a 15-11 lead midway through after four-straight points, forcing the Mariners to call a timeout. Merchant Marine fought back to within two points at 19-17, but St. Joseph's ended on a 6-3 run to even the match at two wins apiece after a 25-20 win.
In the shortened, decisive fifth set, the score was tied at 4-4 before USMMA scored seven straight (including three kills by Pope and two by freshman Nicole Ibinson (Fredericksburg, Va.)) to take a commanding 11-4 lead. After two straight points by Golden Eagles, the Mariners ended the match with four-straight thanks to an ace by freshman Megan Toler (Prunedale, Calif.) and two bad sets and an attack error by SJC, to win the set 15-6.
Pope ended the night with a team-high 18 kills and also had a double-double after recording 12 digs. Gleason was second on the squad with eight kills and led the team with 35 assists. Ibinson contributed seven kills and nine digs, while Marionakis picked up 13 digs. Junior Darin Zacharias (Virginia Beach, Va.) chipped in defensively with a team-best 18 digs.
Three players recorded double-digit kills for the Golden Eagles, as senior Heather Ferchland led all players with 23 kills, junior Courtney Bocchieri recorded 14 and Urizzo added 12. Urizzo and junior Courtney Wickline both had double-doubles on the night as Urizzo also picked up 20 digs and Wickline dished out a match-high 50 assists to go along with 13 digs. Freshman Jenna Beekman contributed a match-high 26 digs.
The Mariners will wrap up their three-match road swing this weekend, when they take part in two contests at a Landmark Quad-Match hosted by Juniata on Saturday, Oct. 17. Merchant Marine will start off playing the Crusaders of Susquehanna University at 1:30 p.m., before taking on the host Eagles at 6:30 p.m. Live stats and a live video feed should be accessible for both contests, with links available on this page later this week.