KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Sept. 21, 2017) – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy women's volleyball team suffered a tough five-set loss to arch-rival Coast Guard on Thursday night in a packed Liebertz Gymnasium. The defeat drops the Mariners' record to 6-3 on the season, while the Bears improve to 9-3 with the victory.
USMMA dropped the first two sets of the match 25-21 and 25-7, but rallied back to take the third and fourth sets, 25-18 and 25-13, to force the decisive fifth set. The Bears came out strong in the clincher and took it by the score of 15-6.
Sophomore setter Kyleigh Kappas (Parker, Colo.) dished out a match-high 27 assists, while also leading all players in the match with 18 digs. It was her third double-double of the season. Junior Kate Lefler (Norman, Okla.) also recorded a double-double – her third straight and team-leading fifth of the year – with 10 kills and 10 digs.
Senior Dominique Pope (Silver Spring, Md.) added six kills, 14 digs and tied for the match-high with four service aces and classmate Alex Miller (Stevensville, Mich.) contributed to the defense with 10 digs. Senior Tichina Carmon (Greenville, N.C.) also had a strong match with seven kills and a match-high three blocks, while classmate Kayla Gleason (Sound Beach, N.Y.) chipped in with eight kills on the night.
Merchant Marine started the match out strong and built a 14-7 lead. The Mariners led 19-13 before the Bears rallied by running off six straight to pull even 19-19. The opening set was tied 21-21 before Coast Guard scored the final four points for the 25-21 win.
The Bears scored the first six points of the second set. Coast Guard would continue to increase the lead scoring six of the next seven points for a commanding 12-1 lead. The Bears led 20-4 and continued on to the 25-7 win. Coast Guard hit .400 in the second set.
The Mariners showed signs of life jumping out to a 7-4 lead in the third set before the Bears pulled even 11-11. Merchant Marine took control of the set and got the great home crowd back into the match by scoring ten straight to take a 23-13 lead en route to the 25-18 win.
In the fourth set, Coast Guard would score six straight to take an early 9-3 lead. The Mariners would respond by scoring seven of the next eight points to tie the game at 10 and that began a 15-2 run as Merchant Marine took a 18-11 lead. The Mariners would score six of the final seven points for a 25-13 win.
In the final set, Coast Guard raced to a 5-0 lead and the Bears dominated play early, leading 10-1 before closing out the match with a 15-6 victory.
For Coast Guard, sophomore Angelou Dunton hit .344 and had a match-high 16 kills to go with 11 digs. Freshman Bridget Boyle added nine kills and 11 digs, while senior Michelle McGill led the Bears with 13 digs. Sophomore Makenna Martin dished out a team-high 24 assists.
Prior to the match, the team captains for both squads shared an important message for the fans of Merchant Marine and Coast Guard about the importance of respect.
The Mariners are back in action next Tuesday night, Sept. 21, when they host Skyline Conference opponent St. Joseph's of Long Island. First serve against the Golden Eagles is set for 7 p.m. at the Liebertz Gymnasium. Live stats and a live video stream of the match will be available with links on the USMMA Women's Volleyball Schedule Page.
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