Kings Point, NY – Junior Michelle Danhof's (San Antonio, TX) 11 service aces are now third most in Academy history in a single match as the Mariners rattled off 18 total aces in a 3-1 triumph over Wentworth Friday night in the 2013 Kings Point Invitational. Cassandra Palma (Loomis, CA) also had a huge night for USMMA as she paced the team with 18 kills and eight digs. The result also gives new Mariner Head Coach Iain Bradbury his first collegiate victory.
Merchant Marine (1-0) got off to a blistering start behind a raucous crowd of over 200 Midshipmen as four Danhof service aces quickly made it 7-1. The visitors battled back to cut the deficit to 13-12 before back-to-back kills from Jennifer Perkins (North Attleboro, MA) reestablished a cushion for the Mariners. USMMA claimed five of the last six points in the set and a block from Charlene Swick (Incline Village, NV) and Jordy Macbeth gave Merchant Marine the first set of 2013, 25-18.
Wentworth (0-1) earned a 7-3 advantage early in the second set but the Mariners chipped away until they took six straight points on the serve of Danhof to gain a 19-16 edge. The home side again was superior down the stretch and went up 2-0 with a 25-20 decision. Macbeth registered four blocks in her first collegiate match as the Mariners six blocks as a team matched its highest total from last season.
The Leopards refused to go quietly and a 5-1 spurt in the middle of the third game would ultimately be the difference in a 25-21 victory for the visitors. Wentworth was led by the double-double performance, 13 kills and 14 digs, from Hannah Bailey. However, the Leopards only swung at a .129 clip for the match and registered just 32 total kills compared to 48 kills for Merchant Marine.
USMMA blew open what was a tightly contested fourth set by engineering a 9-2 run that included three Danhof service aces and three Palma kills. Perkins had the duty of sending the final point to the floor with one of her six kills of the match ending the set, 25-20, and the match 3-1.
The Mariners return to action tomorrow with matches at 10:00 am and 4:00 pm against CCNY and Farmingdale State to close out the 2013 Kings Point Invitational. Merchant Marine will be attempting to win its own tournament for a second straight year.