Women's Volleyball Holds Off Saint Rose, 3-2; Warriors Advance to NE-10 Semifinals



Links: Box Score

Albany, N.Y. – After nearly squandering a two-set lead, the seventh-seeded Merrimack College women's volleyball team charged ahead in the fifth and final set and finally put second-seeded Saint Rose away with back-to-back kills, as the Warriors advanced to the Northeast-10 Championship Semifinals with a 3-2 victory over the Purple Knights on Tuesday night in an NE-10 Quarterfinal matchup at Daniel P. Nolan Gymnasium.

The Basics
Score: Merrimack 3
, Saint Rose 2 
Records: Merrimack (16-14)
| Saint Rose (19-5)
Daniel P. Nolan Gymnasium | Albany, N.Y. 

How It Happened
Back in the postseason for the first time since 2010, Merrimack edged ahead after an exciting first-set win (25-13) before blowing past the Golden Knights, 25-17, in the second frame, as the Warriors opened up a 2-0 lead over the hosts in decisive fashion.

But Saint Rose did not go quietly, as the Golden Knights - who were seeking revenge from an earlier defeat to Merrimack in the regular season - picked up an easy 25-14 win in the third set before tying the match with a 25-19 victory in the fourth stanza.

All even at two sets apiece and knowing the first team to 15 points would emerge victorious, Both sides exchanged points before the Warriors opened up a two-point lead (9-7) midway through the fifth frame. 

Saint Rose would pull ahead by a point (10-9) one last time before the Warriors roared ahead with four straight points to take control of the match. After one last hill from the hosts, back-to-back kills wrapped up the win for the Warriors, who clinched their first postseason victory since 2008 in the process.

Saint Rose opened the first set on a 3-0 before a kill from outside hitter Stephanie Sheehan (Smithtown, N.Y.) started a 3-0 run for the Warriors, bringing the score to 3-3. It was a back-and-fourth battle between the two teams but Saint Rose managed to take a 16-11 lead over the Navy and Gold. The Warriors went on a 4-0 run to tie the game at 20-all. Merrimack battled back and took the first set, 25-23, from the Golden Knights.

Merrimack opened the second set on a 4-0 run but Saint Rose stopped the run after an attack error by the Warriors. Saint Rose was unable to stop Merrimack's offense from quickly taking the second set, 25-17. Sheehan posted a team-high five kills in the set, while freshman Tara Stuhr (Huntington Beach, Calif.) added 11 assists during that run.

Heading into the third set, Merrimack held a 2-0 lead over the Golden Knights and the momentum of the match, but the Golden Knights would not go quietly, taking the third set, 25-14.

Midway through the fourth set, Merrimack trailed Saint Rose, 12-11 before Saint Rose went on a 2-0 run to bring the score to 14-11. Saint Rose went on a 4-0 run to bring the score to 20-15 before a kill by junior Corrine Gosselin (Lawrence, Mass.) started a 2-0 run for the Warriors. Saint Rose finished the fourth match on a 6-1 run to win it by sixth (25-19).

In the fifth and final set, Merrimack took an early 6-4 lead but both sides went point-for-point before the Golden Knights went ahead for the last time, 10-9. Merrimack, however, would not be denied, and won five of the final six points wrapped up the win after a kill from senior Jackie Jones (Amherst, N.H.).

Sheehan posted a team-high 16 kills and eight digs, while junior Aliya Winker (Arlington, Va.) chimed in with 10 kills and a team-high five blocks. Stuhr assisted 42 kills and posted six digs. Sophomore Madison Burke (San Jose, Calif.) chipped in with 21 digs, while freshman Jennifer Cain (Melrose, Mass.) recorded 11 digs.

A Closer Look

  • As a team, Merrimack finished the night with 51 kills, 47 assists, and 59 digs.
  • Saint Rose held a 20-11 edge in total blocks, while the Golden Knights finished with a .243 hitting percentage.
  • Jones and Gosselin contributed eight and seven kills each, respectively.
  • Kelsey Lace posted a double-double for the Golden Knights, 13 kills and 10 digs.

Championship Schedule

Tuesday, November 19
Quarterfinals –Hosted by Higher Seeds
Match 1: #8 American International 0 | #1 New Haven 3 – FINAL
Match 2: #5 Franklin Pierce 1  | #4 Adelphi  3  – FINAL
Match 3: #7 Merrimack 3 | #2 Saint Rose 2 – FINAL
Match 4: #6 Stonehill 3 | #3 Bentley  2– FINAL 

Friday, November 22
Semifinals – Hosted by New Haven
Match 5: #1 New Haven vs. #4 Adelphi – 5 p.m.
Match 6: #7 Merrimack vs. #6 Stonehill –  7:30 p.m.

Saturday, November 23
Championship Finals –Hosted by New Haven
Match 7: Match 5 Winner vs. Match 6 Winner – 5:00 p.m. 

Up Next
The Warriors are back in action, Friday, Nov. 22 when they travel to West Haven, Conn. to face sixth-seeded Stonehill Collegein the Northeast-10 Championship Semifinals with a trip to the Finals on the line. First serve is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. 


For continuing coverage of Merrimack College Athletics, visit MerrimackAthletics.com and follow the Warriors on Twitter and on Facebook.