Recap written by Sabrina Polidoro.
KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Sept. 10, 2019) – The USMMA women's volleyball team faced a hard-fought 3-2 loss to Hunter College at Liebertz Gymnasium Tuesday evening. The intense two-hour, five-setter ended with scores of 25-13, 22-25, 25-27, 25-23 and 15-10. Both teams' records now stand at 2-3 on the season.
A photo gallery from the match can be viewed at this link.
Freshman Paige Smith (Virginia Beach, Va.) led all players with a season-high 21 kills. She picked up the double-double with 14 digs. Sophomore Shelby Bowman (Redmond, Wash.) also tallied a double-double with 17 kills and 14 digs. Senior Kyleigh Kappas (Parker, Colo.) dished out a match-high 47 assists and tabbed a double-double with 19 digs, while sophomore Juliet Vendl (Colorado Springs, Colo.) led the Mariners with 5 total blocks and senior libero Nicole Ibinson (Fredericksburg, Va.) collected 21 digs.
For the Hawks, Kylie Hurst posted 17 kills and Radical Nedea added 11. Setter Justine Smith dished out a 40 assists and 14 digs for the team's only double-double, while Mariam Ouattara and Kendra Moore each posted six total blocks.
USMMA came out strong in the opening of the first set with a quick 4-0 lead. However, a 7-1 rally by Hunter tied the set 5-5 and then gave the Hawks a two-point advantage, 7-5. The set was tied once more at 9-9 on a kill from Smith, but Hunter reclaimed control of the scoreboard with a 13-2 run, 22-11, on points from Ouattara, Isabella Lawrence, and Kendra Moore. The Hawks relinquished just two more points and they won the first set 25-13.
Set two opened similarly to the first and produced five stalemate before the Mariners were able to pull ahead for the win. Tied 11-11, Smith registered back-to-back kills to help push USMMA ahead 14-11. Although the Hawks brought the score within one-point on several occasions, the Mariners never gave up the advantage. Four unanswered points by Vendl, senior Alaina Hudson (King George, Va.), and Bowman made the score 23-17. Even though a 5-1 rally from Hunter brought the score within two, 24-22, a kill by Smith evened the match to one set a piece, 25-22.
Set three was a barnburner from the start. A total of 14 ties pushed the set into extra points. Tied 25-25 after a Mariners attack mistake, Bowman nailed a kill for the 26-25 edge followed by a Hawks error for the 27-25 victory. USMMA led 2-1 in sets.
With what seemed to be the win on the horizon, the Mariners fought harder in the fourth set for the match to go final. USMMA maintained a steady two-point lead over Hunter for the majority of the set before pulling ahead 14-10. However, four straight Hunter points tied it all once again at 14-14. Yet, the Mariners would continue to reclaim the edge until 23-20. The Hawks rallied on serving from Hurst and a pair of kills to tie the set and take the 25-23 win.
Heading into the fifth and final set, Hunter won the first four points and was the first to reach eight, 8-6. After switching sides, the Hawks remained in possession and pushed to a 14-9 lead. USMMA interrupted the closing rally with points off a Hawks service error and a kill from Smith. But Hunter would go on to claim the overall match victory with a 15-10 final score.
Up next, the USMMA women's volleyball team returns to action on Thursday, Sept. 12 when it hosts arch-rival Coast Guard. First serve is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Liebeitz Gymnasium in Kings Point, N.Y. Live stats and a live videostream will be available for match with links on the USMMA Women's Volleyball Schedule Page.
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