KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Nov. 3, 2016) – On Thursday night, the #2 seed USMMA women's volleyball team defeated visiting #3 seed St. Joseph's of Long Island, 3-1, in the Skyline Conference Semifinals at the Liebertz Gymnasium. With the victory, the Mariners improve to 19-8 on the season and advance to the Skyline Conference Championship Match, where they will host the #1 seed Farmingdale State Rams this Saturday, Nov. 5.
Merchant Marine was led by junior Dominique Pope (Silver Spring, Md.) and freshman Kyleigh Kappas (Parker, Colo.), who both registered double-doubles on the night. Pope had a match- and career-high 19 kills to go along with 13 digs, while Kappas recorded 40 assists and 10 digs.
Junior Kayla Gleason (Sound Beach, N.Y.) contributed with nine kills and 15 digs and sophomore Nicole Ibinson (Fredericksburg, Va.) had six kills and 15 digs. Senior Gabby Marionakis (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) led the Marine back row with 18 digs on the night. Sophomore Kate Lefler (Norman, Okla.) and senior Jordy Macbeth (Orlando, Fla.) chipped in with seven and four kills, respectively.
Kappas and Marionakis both had a match-high four service aces apiece, while Kappas and Ibinson both led all players with three blocks each.
The Mariners took the first set by the score of 25-17. Play was even in the opener until USMMA started to pull away after the score was 15-15. Merchant Marine finished on a 10-3 run, including the last five points of the set.
The second set mirrored the first, as the teams were knotted up deep in to the frame at 16-16. That's when the Mariners turned it up once again and finished on a 9-4 run to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the match after the 25-20 win.
After USMMA jumped out to a 4-2 lead in the third set, St. Joseph's strung together an 8-1 rally to go up 10-5. Merchant Marine fought back to within two, 16-14, but a 7-1 run by the visitors saw them up big, 23-15, late. The Mariners wouldn't go quietly, however, as they fought back to within three at 24-21, but the Golden Eagles got the kill they needed to clinch the set, 25-21, and avoid the sweep.
It was all Merchant Marine in the fourth set, as they began with nine straight points before building up leads of 11-1, 14-3 and later on 23-8. St. Joseph's took six of the next seven points to make it interesting, but Pope's 19th kill of the night ended the match in favor of the host Mariners, 25-14.
As a team, the Mariners hit at a .162 clip (46 kills on 167 attempts with 19 errors), while holding SJC to a .055 hitting percentage (43K-34E-164A).
For the Golden Eagles, who end their season with an even 14-14 record, senior Courtney Bocchieri put down a team-high 15 kills, while, like Kappas, senior setter Courtney Wickline also dished out 40 assists. Five players recorded double-digit digs for SJC, led by sophomore Libero Danielle Senecal, who led all players in the game with 33 digs. Wickline recorded the Eagles' only double-double, as she picked up 13 digs.
Despite being the #2 seed, the Mariners will host the Skyline Conference Championship Match against top-seeded Farmingdale State due to renovations being made at the Rams' gymnasium. The title match will take place this Saturday, Nov. 5, at 4 p.m. at the Liebertz Gymnasium.
The USMMA Sports Network's John Kelly Jr. will rush over after the conclusion of the men's soccer title game to call the action for volleyball. Live stats and the live video link of the 2016 Skyline Conference Women's Volleyball Championship Match are available on the USMMA Volleyball Schedule Page.
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Volleyball Advances To Skyline Finals With 3-1 Home Win Over St. Joseph’s (L.I.)