Recap written by Sabrina Polidoro.
MONTCLAIR, N.J. (Sept. 7, 2019) – The USMMA volleyball team faced its first pair of losses this season going 0-2 at the Montclair State tri-match on Saturday at the Red Hawks' Panzer Athletic Center in New Jersey.
Match 1: Montclair State 3, USMMA 1
Despite having three players with double digit kills, the Mariners (2-2) were dealt their first loss after a hard-fought four-set thriller to host Montclair State, 3-1 (12-25, 25-23, 20-25, 24-26).
Freshman Paige Smith (Virginia Beach, Va.) led the Mariners (2-1) with 13 kills. Sophomore Shelby Bowman (Redmond, Wash.) and sophomore Cadee Fromm (Enid, Okla.) chipped in with 11 and 10 kills, respectively. Senior Nicole Ibinson (Fredericksburg, Va.) scooped up a match-high 18 digs and senior Kyleigh Kappas (Parker, Colo.) dished out 39 assist and a match-high three aces.
For the Red Hawks, Carly Waterman had the match-high with 16 kills and Caitlin Lange added 12.
After losing the first set, 25-12, USMMA quickly took a 5-0 lead in the opening of set two and climbed to an 8-1 advantage on points from Fromm, Smith, and sophomore Juliet Vendl (Colorado Spring, Colo.). Although the Mariners kept a firm edge, the Red Hawks began to chip away at the gap and eventually tied the set at 18-18. There were two more stalemates before an MSU service error put USMMA ahead for good 23-22. Back-to-back kills from Smith closed out the set 25-23.
The Mariners rode their momentum into the third set looking to take the match lead. However, a five-point edge did not last too long, and the Red Hawks tied the set for the first time at 8-8. A kill by Megan O'Rouke put Montclair State ahead by one and the Red Hawks never looked back. They won the third set 25-20.
Down 2-1 in sets, USMMA tried to rally for a fifth set in an exciting fourth. The back-and-forth led to an eventual 22-22 knot. A Red Hawks attack error later brought the Mariners to set-point, 24-23; however, back-to-back kills from Schyler White reclaimed the lead for Montclair and a kill from Lange ended the match in extra points 26-24.
Match 2: Stevens 3, USMMA 0
The Mariners hit the court minutes later to take on the Stevens Institute of Technology. USMMA's record evened to 2-2 on the season with the 3-0 loss (17-25, 16-25, 10-25) to the Ducks.
Smith added another team-best 10 kills to her season tally in the loss. For Stevens, Shelby Stewart led with 11 digs and six blocks, while Kathleen Riegner served up five aces.
The teams battle point-for-point in the opening of the first set with USMMA tying it for the last time at 14-14. Stevens then produced a 9-0 run to pull ahead 23-14. The Mariners tacked on three more points on a kill from Smith and Ducks attack errors, but that was the closest they would get. Stevens took the 1-0 match lead, 25-17.
The Mariners maintained a steady two-point lead in the beginning of set two. However, the Ducks waddled to tie it up at 9-9 and cruised ahead courtesy of six straight points that made it 12-9. USMMA knotted the score once more at 14-14; however an 11-2 rally gave Stevens the 25-16 win and 2-0 advantage in sets.
Stevens controlled the momentum of the third and final set. The score was tied once at 2-2 and the Mariners were kept to just eight more points while the Ducks sailed to the 25-10 win.
Up next, the Mariners return to Liebertz Gymnasium on Tuesday night, Sept. 10, to host Hunter College in a non-conference match. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. Live links for the match will be available on the USMMA Women's Volleyball Schedule Page.
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