Washington, D.C. – The St. Mary's College of Maryland volleyball team came out on top in just their second five-setter of the season, edging host Gallaudet University for the 3-2 non-conference win Friday night. The Seahawks posted the triumph behind set scores of 12-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-23, 19-17.
"We played a very good Gallaudet team tonight and walked out with a win," said first-year head coach Jeremy Sands.
Tonight's five-setter marks the fourth consecutive match between the two sides that has gone five. Gallaudet (18-12) won the first two in 2009 and 2011 while St. Mary's (14-8) claimed the next two in 2013 and tonight.
Sophomore Mimi Graf (Annapolis, Md./Broadneck) guided the Seahawks to the victory with her first career triple double with career-best 12 kills, 16 assists, and 12 digs.
"Mimi Graf really stepped up and led the charge to push us through the sets. The match was an intense battle at every point and when push came to shove, our team showed mental toughness," continued Sands.
Junior middle hitter Mandy Goodspeed (Columbia, Md./Atholton) contributed to the win with 15 kills and season-best eight total blocks (1 solo, career-high 7 block assists).
Gallaudet opened up the first set with a 7-0 run and never looked back en route to the 25-12 win. Senior middle hitter Julia Wolff (Belleville, Ontario) and first-year Kylene Etkie (Austin, Texas) combined for seven kills to pace the Bison.
The Seahawks recovered and notched a 25-23 win in the second set behind four Goodspeed kills. St. Mary's jumped out to a 11-6 advantage before the Bison responded with a 6-1 run to stake their first lead of the game. GU stretched its lead to 20-14 but the Seahawks rallied and closed out the set on an 11-3 run, ending it on a service ace by junior setter Grace Chao (Ellicott City, Md./Centennial).
In the third, the score was tied five times and the lead changed twice. St. Mary's claimed a 10-7 lead after a 6-3 deficit but the Bison regained the advantage at 11-10 and held on for the 25-21 win. Junior outside hitter Molly Perkins (Apple Valley, Minn.) led Gallaudet with a set-best five kills as the team hit .469.
The Bison owned a 19-13 advantage in the fourth but St. Mary's kept on fighting and turned the tables, taking a 23-22 lead on an ace by sophomore libero Carissa Hill (Lanham, Md./Pallotti). A Gallaudet attacking error gave the Seahawks a two-point lead before a Perkins kill pulled the Bison within one. First-year Brigid Morris (Bethesda, Md./Walter Johnson) sealed the 25-23 win to force a fifth and decisive set.
The fifth set featured 10 tied scores and four lead changes as the Seahawks regained the lead for good at 17-16 following a Gallaudet ball handling error. The Bison tied it up at 17 before back-to-back kills by Goodspeed finished out the match as she finished the set with five kills and a .714 hitting percentage.
Hill commanded the defense with a match-best 24 digs while junior captain Autumn Fisher (Hagerstown, Md./North Hagerstown) added a dozen. Chao helped out on offense with 22 assists and three aces.
Wolff paced the Bison with match-best 21 kills while first-year Darriyan Thomas (Vallejo, Calif.) contributed 23 digs and five aces.
St. Mary's will be back on the court tomorrow afternoon as the Seahawks return to Capital Athletic Conference action with Frostburg State University (13-14, 3-3 CAC) at 2:00 p.m. on Senior 'Nay' Day. The lone senior, Jenahye' Johnson (Randallstown, Md./Seton Keough) will be recognized prior to the start of tomorrow's match.
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