KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Sept. 20, 2019) – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy women's volleyball team defeated visiting Pratt Institute, 3-0, on Friday night inside the Liebertz Gymnasium. The scores of the match were 25-15, 25-14 and 25-20. With the victory, the Mariners improve to 6-5 on the season, while the Cannoneers fall to 5-5.
Sophomore Taylor Gilbertson (Phoenix, Ariz.) and freshman Paige Smith (Virginia Beach, Va.) both had a match-high nine kills apiece, while senior setter Kyleigh Kappas (Parker, Colo.) led all players with 24 assists and classmate Nicole Ibinson (Fredericksburg, Va.) picked up a team-best 10 digs. Smith accounted for 13 points to lead the Mariners as she also recorded three service aces. Sophomores Juliet Vendl (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Cadee Fromm (Enid, Okla.) chipped in offensively with six and five kills, respectively, and they were two of four USMMA players with two assisted blocks (Kappas and Smith).
The Mariners jumped out to a 10-5 lead in the first set, but Pratt fought back to within two points, 13-11, after a 6-3 run. Merchant Marine finished on a big 12-4 streak to take the opening set and the early lead in the match.
USMMA hit a team-best .360 in the second set, once again picking up a big lead to start, 13-4, before the Cannoneers came back with five of the next six points to make it 14-9. It was a set of back-to-back-back streaks for the two teams out of the timeout – five straight for the Mariners, five-out-of-seven for Pratt and then the final four points for Merchant Marine to take the set, 25-14.
The third set was the closest and was also the first time in the night that the Cannoneers took a lead after they scored the first point. The score was tied a total of five times in the set. The Mariners got out to a 17-12 lead and then Pratt came back with a 7-2 run to tie it up at 19-19. From there, USMMA scored six of the last seven points to clinch the match.
For Pratt, junior Paola Beniquez and sophomore Madeline Markley both had a team-high six kills each. Junior Badesim Kubak dished out 12 assists, while sophomore Avery Toomes had 10 helpers and freshman libero Deanna Colondona led all players on the night with 13 digs.
The Mariners are back in action on Wednesday night, Sept. 25, when they travel up to Purchase College for a Skyline Conference match against the Panthers beginning at 7 p.m. Live stats for the match will be available with a link on the USMMA Women's Volleyball Schedule Page.
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