BRONK, N.Y. (Sept. 21, 2018) – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy women's volleyball team defeated SUNY Maritime College on the road Friday night on the opening day of the Ninth Annual Maritime Classic. The Mariners took the match in straight sets – 25-23, 25-8 and 25-19 – and improve to 3-4 on the season, while the Privateers fall to 2-4.
Freshman Taylor Gilbertson (Phoenix, Ariz.) led all players in the match with a career-high 17 kills on an outstanding .727 hitting percentage (17k-1e-22a). She also recorded five service aces in the affair. Classmate Brittney Pinzon (Fullerton, Calif.) dished out a match-high 29 digs on the night, while senior Megan Toler (Prunedale, Calif.) added six service aces. Junior libero Nicole Ibinson (Fredericksburg, Va.) led USMMA with four digs.
The first set saw the Mariners take a 12-7 lead, only to have SUNY Maritime respond with nine of the next 10 points to go ahead 16-13. After Merchant Marine fought back to tie the score at 17-17, the hosts scored four-straight to take a 21-17 lead. USMMA answered right back with four of their own to tie it up at 21-all, before the Privateers scored two of the next three. However, the Mariners finished out the set with three-straight to go up 1-0 in the match.
Merchant Marine opened up an 8-1 lead in the second set and expanded it to 14-4 and 19-5 before cruising to the 25-8 victory to put SUNY Maritime on the brink of losing. The Mariners hit at a .636 clip on the set (7k-0e-11a) and forced the Privateers to hit -.375 (2k-5e-8a).
The final set was close early on, with the Mariners always holding a slight edge, including at 14-13. From there, they took nine of the next 11 points to go up, 23-15. Maritime made it interesting by scoring four more times, but USMMA held on for the victory.
SUNY Maritime was led by senior Meredith Hayes, who put down a team-best nine kills on a .571 hitting percentage (9k-1e-14a). Sophomore Erika Kirchner recorded 16 assists and sophomore Abby Steele picked up five digs to lead the Privateers.
Up next, the Mariners continue the Maritime Classic on Saturday with two matches against Maine Maritime (1 p.m.) and Mass. Maritime (3 p.m.). Live links to follow along with the action of both matches will be available on the USMMA Women's Volleyball Schedule Page.
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