KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Nov. 4, 2016) – The #2 seed USMMA women's volleyball team will host the top-seeded Rams of Farmingdale State College in the 2016 Skyline Conference Women's Volleyball Championship Match on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016. First serve is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Liebertz Gymnasium.
How They Got Here
The Mariners clinched the #2 seed and a share of the Skyline Regular Season Championship after they completed their league schedule with a 10-1 record. As a Top-2 seed, USMMA earned a bye through the first round to the semifinals, where they defeated St. Joseph's of Long Island, 3-1 (25-17, 25-20, 21-25, 25-14), this past Thursday. Merchant Marine has compiled an overall record of 19-8 thus far on the year under first-year head coach Tim Gaiser and is currently riding an eight-match win streak.
Farmingdale State finished the regular season as the #1 seed in the Skyline with a league record of 10-1. The Rams also had bye through the first round of the tournament and defeated #4 Sage up in Albany, 3-1 (25-22, 25-21, 24-26, 25-14), in the semifinals this past Thursday. The Rams are unable to host any games this year due to renovations at their gymnasium. Despite that, they have put up an 18-7 record under first-year head coach David Mayerson.
Last Time They Met
Back on Saturday, Oct. 8, the Mariners hosted Farmingdale at the Liebertz Gymnasium and it was the visiting Rams that escaped with a 3-1 victory (25-23, 20-25, 27-25, 25-20).
Three Mariners recorded double-doubles in the match – juniors Dominique Pope (Silver Spring, Md.) and Kayla Gleason (Sound Beach, N.Y.) and freshman Kyleigh Kappas (Parker, Colo.). Kappas dished out a match-high 32 assists and also led all players with 16 digs. Pope and Gleason both had 12 kills apiece, with Pope picking up 13 digs and Gleason registering 12 digs.
Sophomore Kate Lefler (Norman, Okla.) also recorded double-digit kills with 10, while classmate Nicole Ibinson (Fredericksburg, Md.) chipped in defensively with 11 digs. Lefler and senior Jordy Macbeth (Orlando, Fla.) both led the Mariners with three blocks each.
For the Rams, freshman Julia Hande registered a triple-double with a team-high 14 kills and 16 assists to go along with 11 digs. Sophomore Lauren Anne Strezenec also had a double-double as she also had 16 assists and tied for the team-high with 15 digs. Junior libero Stephanie Etersque also picked up 15 digs, while a total of five FSC players notched double-digit digs (senior Christina Hickey and sophomore both had 11 each). Hickey also chipped in with eight kills over the four sets.
Players To Watch
For Merchant Marine, Kyleigh Kappas has recorded a Skyline Conference best 9.37 assists per set with 0.63 service aces per set, which ranks eighth in the country. Dominique Pope's 3.13 kills per set is tops on the team and ranks third in the Skyline, while Kayla Gleason is eighth in the same category with 2.53 KPS. Kate Lefler has been hitting on a 22.0-percent clip throughout the season, which is good for sixth in the league and Gabby Marionakis is seventh in the conference with a team-high 3.48 digs per set.
For Farmingdale State, Julia Hande leads the way with 2.69 kills per set, which ranks fifth in the league. The rookie's 0.69 blocks per set rank sixth in the Skyline, while her .213 hitting percentage is good for eighth. LaurenAnne Strezenec has dished out a team-best 4.82 assists per set and Stephanie Etersque leads the Rams with 3.33 digs per set, which ranks ninth in the conference. Senior Barbara Wright and junior Maia Cadle-Hinton are first and third in the Skyline with .287 hitting percentage and .277 hitting percentage, respectively. Cadle-Hinton leads the league with 1.03 blocks per set while Wright is second with 0.89. Strezenec is second in the conference with 0.96 aces per set and Etersque is sixth in the same category with 0.65 aces per set.
Live stats and a live video feed of the Skyline Championship matchup on Saturday will be available. The USMMA Sports Network's John Kelly Jr. will call all of the action from O'Hara Hall. To access the live stats of the contest, click here. For the free live video feed, follow this link.
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Skyline WVB Finals Preview: #2 Mariners Host #1 Farmingdale State Saturday At 4 p.m.