KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Sept. 17, 2015) – On Thursday, the USMMA women's volleyball team lost its non-conference matchup to visiting Montclair State at the Liebertz Gymnasium in straight sets, 25-20, 25-18, 25-18. The defeat drops the Mariners to 5-3 overall on the season, while the Red Hawks improve to 6-4.
Sophomore Dominique Pope (Silver Spring, Md.) led Merchant Marine in kills with nine, while classmate Rebecca Snyder (Jacksonville, Fla.) was right behind her with eight. Sophomore Kayla Gleason (Sound Beach, N.Y.) dished out 21 assists on the night and three Mariners picked up double-digit digs – junior Darin Zacharias (Virginia Beach, Va.) and freshman Nicole Ibinson (Fredericksburg, Va.) both had 11 and junior Gabby Marionakis (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) had 10 digs. Snyder and Gleason also added three blocks apiece in the match.
The Mariners had the early momentum in the first set, building a lead up to 6-2. However, after USMMA increased its advantage up to 8-5, the Red Hawks scored seven straight points to take a 12-8 lead. Merchant Marine was able to rebound to tie the score at 13-all, but a 4-2 run by Montclair made it 17-15 in favor of the visitors and five consecutive points later in the set gave MSU a healthy 24-17 lead. Despite three-straight by the Mariners, the Red Hawks were able to secure the set on a kill by senior Courtney LePore.
Merchant Marine built a 6-4 lead in the second before Montclair countered with seven of the next eight points for an 11-7 lead. The Mariners got the next two points, but the Red Hawks scored four straight taking a 15-9 advantage on a kill by LePore. MSU would maintain a 6-8 point lead the rest of the way and took the 2-0 lead in the match with the 25-18 win.
A five-point run early in the third set staked Montclair State to an 8-2 lead, which later grew to 16-6 after junior Courtney Matlock put down consecutive kills. The Red Hawks pushed the lead to 21-9, however the Mariners battled back, trimming the lead to 24-18 after a four-point run late. LePore dashed any chance of a comeback with her 13th and final kill as MSU completed the sweep with the 25-18 win.
LePore recorded a match-high 13 kills for Montclair State, while Matlock registered 12 kills. Junior Kimberly Matlock led all players with 35 assists, and sophomore libero Danielle Olcese picked up a match-high 16 digs.
Up next, the USMMA women's volleyball team will look to defend its title at the Sixth Annual Maritime Classic. The two-day event kicks off on Saturday, Sept. 19, with a tri-match beginning at 10 a.m. at the Liebertz Gym. SUNY Maritime will take on Maine Maritime at 10 a.m., followed by Mass. Maritime vs. SUNY at 12-noon. The Mariners will wrap up action on the day taking on Mass. Maritime beginning at 2 p.m. On Sunday, just two matches will be played, beginning with Mass. vs. Maine at 10 a.m. and concluding with USMMA vs. Maine Maritime at 12-noon. Links for live coverage can be found on the USMMA women's volleyball schedule page at this link.