USMMA Volleyball Falls to Mount Saint Vincent in Five Set Heartbreaker

Riley Huelbig
Riley Huelbig

Kings Point, NY – Three Mariners recorded a double-double and USMMA volleyball held a 2-1 advantage after three sets but Mount Saint Vincent rallied late to win a 3-2 decision Thursday night inside O'Hara Hall.  Cassandra Palma (Loomis, CA) totaled 16 kills and 11 digs while Caitlin McCabe (Edgewood, NM) notched 12 digs, along with a stellar .435 hitting percentage, and 12 digs.  Setter Riley Huelbig (Poolesville, MD) posted her double-double after tallying 29 assists and 11 digs. 

Merchant Marine (3-2) opened the first set strong, surging out to a 13-5 advantage and forcing the Dolphins to call the match's first timeout.  However, the visitors responded off the bench and leveled the set at 18-18 on an Ashleigh Scozzari kill.  Scozzari paced the Dolphins with 16 kills and three blocks.  The Mariners would push ahead down the stretch and had two set points at 24-22 following a Dolphin service error.  However, MSV saved both USMMA opportunities as well as a third to extend the set to 25-25.  The Dolphins then got back-to-back kills from Scozzari and Allison Regan to steal the first game, 27-25.

Mount Saint Vincent (2-1) grabbed the early lead in the second set but the Mariners would rattle off six straight points to go on top 12-8 before the Dolphins took a timeout.  USMMA engineered a 9-3 run later in the set to open up a 21-13 edge.  The Mariners hit a match high .312 in the second set as Palma dropped in six of her kills in the game.  Rachel Smith (Broomfield, CO) ended the stanza at 25-17 with one of her four kills of the night.

The Dolphins struggled in the third set, posting five kills against six errors, good for a -.045 hitting mark.  On the other side, McCabe came alive for Merchant Marine, smashing a kill on all five of her attempts in the set.  USMMA blew open what had been a tight set at 13-12 as the Mariners caught fire, taking the third set 25-15.

The two sides battled back-and-forth in the early stages of the fourth set and found themselves deadlocked at 14-14 following a USMMA service error.  The Dolphins used that spark to also win the next four points to take an 18-14 lead, forcing the Mariners into a timeout in the process.  From there, Mount Saint Vincent was able to hold off Merchant Marine down the stretch and sent the game to a fifth and deciding set with a 25-19 triumph in the fourth.

The Dolphins saved their strongest hitting performance for the final set, notching five kills without making an error.  Conversely, USMMA committed eight hitting errors as Mount Saint Vincent went up 5-0 to start the set and never looked back.  The Dolphins secured the dramatic 3-2 victory with a 15-6 win in the fifth set.  Both of the Mariners losses in 2012 have come in five set affairs.

Merchant Marine returns to action this Saturday as they, along with most of the Kings Point campus, travel to archrival Coast Guard this Saturday.  Game time is set for 12:00 pm.