KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Oct. 7, 2019) – The USMMA women's volleyball team earned a hard-fought 3-1 win over reigning Skyline Champions Mount St. Vincent, 25-15, 22-25, 25-19, 25-21, at home on Monday night at the Liebertz Gymnasium. With the victory, the Mariners' win-streak improves to 11-straight matches and their record moves to 13-5 (6-0 Skyline), while the Dolphins drop their first Skyline match of the year and fall to 10-6 (4-1 Skyline).
The tandem of sophomore Taylor Gilbertson (Phoenix, Ariz.) and freshman Paige Smith (Virginia Beach, Va.) stood out for Merchant Marine in the victory, as both players produced double-doubles and a match-high 22 points apiece. Gilbertson led all players with 18 kills and also recorded 11 digs and four service aces, while Smith put down 15 kills to go along with a career-best and match-high 22 digs as well as five aces and three blocks (two assisted).
Senior Kyleigh Kappas (Parker, Colo.) dished out 35 assists to lead all players and was just two digs shy of a double-double with eight. Sophomore Juliet Vendl (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Cadee Fromm (Enid, Okla.) contributed to the offense with six and four kills, respectively, while Vendl had two service aces and Fromm led all players with four blocks (three assisted). Senior libero Nicole Ibinson (Fredericksburg, Va.) picked up 13 digs from the back row.
The Mariners jumped out a big lead in the first set, building the advantage up to 20-9 before the Dolphins burnt a timeout. After a small run by CMSV, the Mariners closed out the match with three of the last four points on a kill and ace by Gilbertson and a kill by Smith to close out the set, 25-15.
Mount St. Vincent came out strong in the second set, before things evened out. The Mariners went on a 7-2 run to take an 18-16 lead and force the Dolphins to call a timeout. Out of the break, the visitors turned the momentum in their favor, as they responded with their own 7-2 run to go up 23-20. The two teams traded the next four points, and CMSV claimed the 25-22 victory.
The third set was extremely close throughout most of the action – it included a total of seven lead changes and nine times that the score was tied. The Mariners started to break away towards the end when they put together an 8-2 rally to go ahead 22-16. After two-straight by Mount St. Vincent, the Mariners closed out the set with three of the last four and again it was a kill by Smith that ended the set, 25-19.
The Dolphins looked good out of the gate in the fourth set, building up leads of 5-2 early and then 16-11 a little later on that forced USMMA to call timeout. The momentum stayed with CMSV briefly after the breather, as the Dolphins went up 19-12, but things turned the hosts' was, as they came back with an 8-1 run to tie up the score at 20-20. After an attack error put the visitors back in front, the Mariners scored the next five points to close out the set, 25-21, and the match, 3-0.
For Mount St. Vincent, senior Tara Maloney and sophomore Samantha Schroeder both had 10 kills, with Maloney just recording a double-double with 11 digs and Schroeder just missing out with nine. Sophomore Madison Gale did record one, as she set up 28 assists to go along with 12 digs, and junior libero Alexandra Rio had 10 digs.
The Mariners move on from one game featuring an undefeated conference opponent to another, as they will travel up to Purchase, N.Y., this Wednesday, Oct. 9, to face new Skyline Conference member Manhattanville College. The Valiants currently sit at 13-5 overall, 4-0 in Skyline action. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Kennedy Gym. Live stats and a live video feed of the match will be available with a link on the USMMA Women's Volleyball Schedule Page.
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