KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Sept. 12, 2019) – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy women's volleyball team lost its rivalry matchup to visiting Coast Guard, 3-1, on Thursday night in a raucous Liebertz Gymnasium, 27-25, 25-15, 21-25, 25-18. The loss drops the Mariners' record to 2-4 on the season, while the Bears improve to 6-3.
To view a photo gallery from the match, click here.
Leading the way for USMMA was freshman Paige Smith (Virginia Beach, Va.), who recorded a double-double with a match-high 15 kills to go along with 13 digs. Sophomore Shelby Bowman (Redmond, Wash.) chipped in with nine kills and nine digs, while senior Kyleigh Kappas (Parker, Colo.) dished out 25 assists to lead all players and classmate Nicole Ibinson (Fredericksburg, Va.) picked up a team-best 15 digs. Kappas and sophomore Juliet Vendl (Colorado Springs, Colo.) both put down a team-high three blocks each.
Kappas was honored before the game in a brief ceremony recognizing her 2,000th career assist, which she recorded last week.
The first set was an exciting one, as the two teams tussled into extra points. The score was tied 12 times and there were four lead changes. After early momentum from Coast Guard, the Mariners came back to tie it three times at 10-10, 11-11 and 12-12. Merchant Marine scored four-straight to force the Bears to burn a timeout. After the breather, the visitors responded with a 7-2 run to take a 19-18 lead. USMMA later scored three-straight to make it 23-21, but Coast Guard tied it up at 23. The Mariners had set-point twice, but both times the Bears answered back, including scoring the final three points to secure the opener, 27-25.
Neither team hit particularly well in the first set, Merchant Marine at a -.023 clip and Coast Guard at .064. Bowman and Smith both had five kills each.
The Bears raced out to a 10-3 lead in the second set and forced the Mariners to take a timeout. After the hosts scored the next two points, Coast Guard took over momentum once again and ran its lead up to 20-11 and didn't look back. The Bears hit at a better .222 percentage and held the Mariners to just one kill in the set.
The third set was almost a reproduction of the opening set, as the two teams battled to 12 tie scores and eight lead changes. Neither team had more than a three-point lead, as the Mariners produced that three times early on. The biggest streak came at the end of the set, when USMMA closed out on a 5-0 run to take it 25-21. The Mariners hit at .214 and held the Bears to a .026 percentage, including 10 attack errors.
Coast Guard took advantage early once again in the fourth set, but Merchant Marine did not go quietly. The Bears built up a lead of 6-2, and the Mariners came back to tie it up at 8-8. It was a stretch during the middle of the set that saw the visitors go from being down 10-9 to leading 17-10 after eight-straight points which resulted in USMMA calling a timeout. The Mariners responded with four-consecutive points to make it a three-point set, but the Bears finished on an 8-4 run to clinch the match.
Sophomore Amanda Dake led Coast Guard with 10 kills and had a double-double with 10 digs. Senior Angelou Dunton just missed out on one, as she put down nine kills and dug up 11 balls while also leading all players with three service aces. Classmate Makenna Martin dished out 23 assists, while junior libero Veronica Hine had a match-high 24 digs.
The Mariners ended the night with a -.031 hitting percentage, and the Bears finished at .123. USMMA also put down 6 blocks on the night, but Coast Guard had nine.
Merchant Marine will host the 2019 Maritime Classic this Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 14-15 at the Liebertz Gymnasium, where they'll welcome in Maine Maritime, Massachusetts Maritime and SUNY Maritime in the two-day tournament. The Mariners' first match will be against Maine Maritime on Saturday morning, Sept. 14, at 10 a.m. Live stats and live video feeds for all matches this weekend will be available with links on the USMMA Women's Volleyball Schedule Page.
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