MAHWAH, N.J. (Nov. 2, 2019) – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy women's volleyball team had its final tune-up before the Skyline playoffs with a non-conference tri-match at Ramapo College on Saturday. The Mariners defeated the host Roadrunners in a five-set thriller, 3-2, to start the day before closing it out with a straight-set sweep of Lehman College. USMMA's record improves to 19-6 after the two victories.
In the opener, the Mariners lost the first set to Ramapo, 25-15, but rebounded to tie the match up at one with a 25-17 win in the second set. The Roadrunners took the third set, 25-16, but Merchant Marine forced a decisive fifth set with a 25-19 victory in the fourth.
After the fifth set started out back-and-forth, the Mariners went on a 5-1 run to take a 10-6 lead. USMMA was able to close it out with five of the last seven points to claim the exciting victory.
Freshman Paige Smith (Virginia Beach, Va.) recorded a match-high 19 kills to go along with nine digs, while sophomore Taylor Gilbertson (Phoenix, Ariz.) added a double-double with 15 kills and 11 digs. Sophomore Brittney Pinzon (Fullerton, Calif.) dished out 26 assists as part of a double-double effort with 10 digs, and freshman Claire Hyun (Issaquah, Wash.) chipped in with 16 assists.
The scores of the sweep over the Lightning were 25-10, 25-18 and 25-17.
Gilbertson led the way with 10 kills and four service aces. Smith added six kills and junior Jourdin Thompson (Brighton, Colo.) put down five. Pinzon recorded 13 assists and Hyun dished out 12. Defensively, senior Alaina Hudson (King George, Va.) had a team-best six digs.
Up next, Merchant Marine will host the Skyline Championship Semifinals on Thursday night, Nov. 7 beginning at 7 p.m. The #3-seed Mariners host the winner of the First Round matchup of #6-seed Mount St. Mary at #3-seed Mount St. Vincent, which takes place this Tuesday. Live stats and a live video feed of Thursday's semifinal match will be available with links on the USMMA Women's Volleyball Schedule Page.
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