Newburgh - Making just their second appearance in the Skyline Conference championship, the Mount Saint Mary College volleyball team came up short in their bid for the first title in program history, falling to NYU-Poly in straight sets (25-21, 25-15, 25-23).
After dropping the first two sets, the Knights seemed poised to rally their way back into the match. Trailing 17-14, junior Jacqueline Nadeau served four consecutive points to give the Knights their first lead of the match. Sophomore Mary Ann Raftery finished off a nice point with a tipped kill to tie the set at 17-17.
The Mount would take another lead as freshman Kaylene Pennings rolled a kill over the net to give the Knights a 20-19 advantage. The Blue Jays responded with the next three points, however, and went on to put away the match. NYU-Poly junior Victoria Kalvert put down a missed return by the Mount at match point.
Pennings led the Knights with seven kills and five blocks, while Raftery, Nadeau, and junior Courtney Kenney each chipped in with five kills. Sophomore Lauren Halverson had 20 assists and a team-high 10 digs.
NYU-Poly senior Meredith Shipman was named the tournament’s most valuable player. Shipman finished the championship match with 16 kills and 15 digs. She totaled 15 kills and 12 digs in their semifinal victory over Old Westbury.
In the Knights’ semifinal match with Farmingdale, the Mount racked up 10 kills without an error during a well-played first set to take the opener, 25-16. The Knights gradually snuck away in set two, sparked by a Halverson ace at 13-11. Pennings would finish off the set with a monster kill, giving the home team a 25-17 win and a two sets to none lead.
The third set would prove to be much closer, as Farmingdale refused to go away without a fight. With senior Shannon Scudder serving, the Rams rattled off eight consecutive points to seize a 19-14 advantage. However, a hanging kill by Pennings brought the Knights back to 20-16. Nadeau continued to serve very well, forcing a missed pass by Farmingdale that resulted in another Pennings kill to make it 20-19. Pennings then added another kill to give the Knights the lead, 21-20. The Rams called a timeout trailing, 23-21, but Kenney finished off the match with a shot that clipped the back line.
Pennings finished with 12 kills on 20 attempts, while Halverson added 22 assists, five aces, and six digs. Kenney tallied seven kills and Raftery pitched in with six kills and seven digs.
With the championship, NYU-Poly clinched their spot in the NCAA Division III Tournament.