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October 26, 2013

Mariners Split Two Matches in Return to Court on #ThinkPink Day

Kings Point, NY – The USMMA volleyball team defeated York (NY) in straight sets and dropped a tight 3-2 decision to William Paterson Saturday afternoon at O'Hara Hall on #ThinkPink Day.  The teams wore pink in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Jennifer Perkins (North Attleboro, MA) totaled 13 blocks in the two matches while Cassandra Palma (Loomis, CA) notched a season high 23 kills in the Mariners clash with the Pioneers.

Merchant Marine (11-4) earned its first victory after having eight straight matches cancelled with a decisive 3-0 victory over the Cardinals.  Perkins also led USMMA with seven kills in the match while Paige Queen (Falcon, CO) dished out 22 assists and added five of the Mariners 12 total service aces.  Merchant Marine built a 16-6 cushion and ultimately put the first set out of reach with six straight points, including four of Queen's aces.

York (6-19) kept the second set tight and pulled even at 21-21 on a Tiandra Jones kill.  However, a Palma kill and back-to-back Cardinal errors gave USMMA three set points.  The visitors fought off the first two but a service error gave Merchant Marine a 25-23 triumph and 2-0 overall lead.  Merchant Marine engineered an 8-2 run in the middle of the third set and cruised to a 25-17 decision that sealed the 3-0 shutout.  The Mariners hammered down 30 kills in the match while Gabby Marionakis (Royal Palm Beach, FL) supplied nine digs and Cassie Walter (Rocky Ford, CO) chipped in eight digs. 

William Paterson (19-6) was red-hot in the opening set of the afternoon's first match, tallying 12 kills and only three errors, taking game one against the Mariners, 25-19.  The Pioneers appeared to be on their way to earning a 2-0 advantage, holding a 23-20 edge in the second set.  However, Merchant Marine stormed back to claim the next five points and even the match 1-1 with a 25-23 comeback win.  Palma came up big down the stretch with three kills in that span, including back-to-back kills that ended the set.

Merchant Marine fell behind early in the third set but again made a comeback and found themselves level at 19-19.  USMMA took the next four points to open up a cushion and eventually notched a 25-22 victory in the set on a Darin Zacharias (Virginia Beach, VA) service ace.  Zacharias finished the contest with 16 digs and four service aces.  The Pioneers rallied in the fourth set and took advantage of the Mariners worst hitting set of the afternoon.  William Paterson rolled to a 25-9 verdict and forced a fifth and deciding set. 

William Paterson broke open a back-and-forth set with four consecutive points to take a 12-8 lead.  The Mariners answered right back with four straight points of their own and were level at 12-12 following a block from Palma and Perkins.  A Palma killed fought off a set point at 14-13 but a USMMA service error on the following play gave the Pioneers a 15-14 edge.  William Paterson would take advantage of the second chance and a block from Issel Garcia and Mary Long ended a dramatic fifth set, 16-14, and gave the visitors the 3-2 victory. 

Riley Huelbig (Poolesville, MD) registered a double-double with 42 assists and 17 digs.  Michelle Danhof (San Antonio, TX) posted eight kills and 15 digs while Palma also supplied 12 digs to earn her own double-double.

The USMMA volleyball team returns to action tomorrow for a Landmark Conference Tournament Play-In Game against #6 Goucher.  Game time is set for 4:00 pm.