PURCHASE, N.Y. (Nov. 9, 2019) – The #2-seed USMMA women's volleyball team suffered a heartbreaking five-set loss to top-seeded Manhattanville on Saturday night in the Skyline Championship Finals in a packed and loud Kennedy Gymnasium. In defeat, the Mariners end the season with a 20-7 record, while the Valiants improve to 24-5 and earn the Skyline's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Manhattanville narrowly won the opening set, 25-23, but the Mariners responded with a marathon 32-30 win in the second set to tie the match up at 1-1. After the hosts went up 2-1 in the match with a 25-15 win in the third set, the Valiants began the fourth set on fire – eventually building up a 17-8 lead with what felt like all the momentum to close out the match and claim the title. However, the Mariners unbelievably stormed back with an 8-1 run to make it 18-16, and after a 3-1 run by Manhattanville, the visitors closed out the set with another 8-1 run to force a decisive fifth set for the Skyline Championship.
The Valiants stormed out to a 5-2 lead in the fifth set and then built on that to take an 11-4 advantage and force Merchant Marine to call a timeout. After Manhattanville added one more point, the Mariners refused to go down quietly, as they scored four-straight to come within just three, 12-9. However, the Valiants closed out the match with three-straight points to claim the championship.
The Mariners were led by freshman Paige Smith (Virginia Beach, Va.), who put down a team-high 18 kills to go along with eight digs, four aces and four blocks (three assisted), while sophomore Taylor Gilbertson (Phoenix, Ariz.) added 16 kills, eight digs and three assisted blocks. Senior setter Kyleigh Kappas (Parker, Colo.) recorded a double-double with 44 assists and 14 digs, while sophomore Cadee Fromm (Enid, Okla.) just missed out on one with a career-high 14 kills and nine blocks (seven assisted).
Senior libero Nicole Ibinson (Fredericksburg, Va.) picked up a team-best 24 digs, while sophomore Juliet Vendl (Colorado Springs, Colo.) contributed four kills and five digs. Senior Alaina Hudson (King George, Va.) picked up six digs from the back row and tied for the match-high with four service aces, and sophomore Brittney Pinzon (Fullerton, Calif.) chipped in with two kills and two digs.
For Manhattanville, senior Austen Brauer led all players on the night with 28 kills and was named the Skyline Championship Most Outstanding Player. Freshman setter Vianca Vital had a double-double with a match-high 52 assists and 26 digs. Sophomore Alejandra Figueroa also recorded a double-double, as she put down 18 kills and picked up 16 digs.
Receive USMMA Women's Volleyball News Right To Your E-Mail!
If you would like to receive the latest news on the USMMA women's volleyball team, including all press releases, send an e-mail to Assistant Athletic Director for Communications Joe Guster at email@example.com with the subject "Women's Volleyball E-Mails."
Follow USMMA Athletics On Social Media!
Be sure to follow USMMA Athletics on social media to get up-to-the-minute updates on your favorite teams! Start following today on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube!