KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Aug. 31, 2018) – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy women's volleyball team claimed a hard-fought straight-set victory over Rutgers-Newark on Friday evening at the Liebertz Gymnasium in front of a raucous Parents Weekend crowd.
A photo gallery of the match is available and can be view by following this link.
Senior Kate Lefler (Norman, Okla.) led all players in the match with 17 kills and she also picked six digs, while freshman Taylor Gilbertson (Phoenix, Ariz.) added 11 kills and was just two digs shy of a double-double with eight. Fellow plebe Cadee Fromm (Enid, Okla.) contributed eight kills and an impressive .615 hitting percentage.
Freshman Brittney Pinzon (Fullerton, Calif.) stayed busy on the night, dishing out a total of 35 assists, while falling just one dig short of a double-double with nine. Defensively, junior libero Nicole Ibinson (Fredericksburg, Va.) was all over the court, as she tied for the match-high with 15 digs, while senior Megan Toler (Prunedale, Calif.) picked up seven digs over the three sets. Freshman Juliet Vendl (Colorado Springs, Colo.) chipped in with five kills and five digs on the night.
The entire match was tightly contest, beginning with the first set, which saw the score tied on seven occasions and the lead change four times. The Mariners started the second set strong, building up leads of 12-3 and 19-8, only to see the Scarlet Raiders come back to within just three points at 20-17. USMMA took five of the next six points, however to go up 2-0 in the match.
Rutgers-Newark was close to winning the third set, as the Scarlet Raiders had set-point on two separate occasions late - first at 24-22, which forced third-year head coach Tim Gaiser to burn a timeout. The Mariners came out strong from the breather and scored the next three points to take a 25-24 lead. After two more lead changes, Merchant Marine finally put the match away on a kill by Lefler. The third set alone featured the score tied nine different times and six lead changes.
The Scarlet Raiders were led by junior Comfort Akinbo, who recorded a team-best eight kills. Sophomore Karly Gregoire dished out 11 assists and junior libero Brione Lockett tied Ibinson for the match-high with 15 digs. Both senior Cassie Luken and freshman Sharon Starling contributed five kills in the losing effort, while Starling led all players in the match with six service aces.
The Mariners return to action on Tuesday night, Sept. 4, when they travel to Brooklyn, N.Y., to take on the Pratt Institute. Live stats for the road match, which begins at 7 p.m., will be available at this link.
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