St. Mary's City, Md. – Senior middle blocker Gena Hlavinka (Gaithersburg, Md./T.S. Wootton) led three Seahawks with double-digit kills Wednesday night as the St. Mary's College of Maryland volleyball team notched a crucial 3-1 Capital Athletic Conference victory over Marymount (Va.) University while raising over $3,000 for the Side-Out Foundation on Dig Pink Night.
The win secured St. Mary's (7-16, 3-4 CAC) a spot in the 2011 CAC Volleyball Championship Tournament which begins November 1. However, the Seahawks' seeding in the tournament is still up in the air with one more league match remaining for St. Mary's on Saturday against Wesley College. If the Seahawks defeat Wesley, then St. Mary's will clinch the fifth seed in the tournament. On the other hand, if Wesley were to win, the Seahawks would finish as the sixth seed.
Hlavinka tallied a season- and match-best 18 kills and added four block assists as she attacked at a .517 clip in leading the team to victory while junior outside hitter Cecilia Blanc (Gaithersburg, Md./Poolesville) recorded her sixth double-double of the season with a dozen kills and team-best 15 digs.
Sophomore middle blocker Michelle Klima (Ellicott City, Md./Centennial) had a season-best effort as well with 11 kills while junior outside hitter Jenn Rindone (Crofton, Md./Spalding) and sophomore libero Bianca Livioco (Gaithersburg, Md./Gaithersburg) each posted 11 digs.
The four-set match featured 31 tied scores and 15 lead changes as St. Mary's came away with the exciting match win, 25-17, 24-26, 25-22, 25-23.
The fourth and deciding set featured 14 tied scores and five lead changes as neither team could establish a lead of more than three points. Kills by Hlavinka knotted the set at 22-22 and again at 23-23 before a Klima kill gave her team a 24-23 margin and then the duo of Hlavinka and Klima blocked Jennifer Forbes' attack attempt for match point.
The Seahawks used a 3-0 spurt to break a 13-13 tie in the first set and then closed out the game on a 9-4 run as Blanc and Hlavinka each had three kills in the win.
Marymount (11-16, 2-6 CAC) responded in the second set but not without a fight from St. Mary's. The Seahawks overcame a 17-10 deficit, outplaying the Saints, 13-6, to knot the set at 23-all on a Blanc kill that followed back-to-back kills by junior right-side hitter Shelby Mullennix (California, Md./Leonardtown). The Saints held on to tie the match at one set apiece as Erin Allison (Gardnerville, Nev.) and Johanna Hummel (Nokesville, Va.) each picked up four kills in the second game.
In the third set, the Seahawks built a 16-8 advantage before a 13-6 Marymount run brought the Saints within 22-21 on a kill by Emily Shultis (Springfield, Va.). However, kills by Klima and Mullennix helped St. Mary's seal the 25-22 third set win.
Sophomore Rachel Wilson (Damascus, Md./Damascus) paced the Seahawk setters with 22 assists.
The Seahawks will be back in action on Friday, October 28 as St. Mary's hosts its annual Seahawk Invitational. They will face Bridgewater (Va.) College first at 5:00 pm before taking on City College of New York at 7:00 pm.