Panther Volleyball Eases Past St. Michael’s

Isabel Sessions hit a sparkling .684 during Tuesday's win at St. Michael's.
Isabel Sessions hit a sparkling .684 during Tuesday's win at St. Michael's.

Middlebury ran its winning streak to three with a straight-set victory (27-25, 25-11, 25-10) at in-state foe St. Michael's on Tuesday evening in the Ross Sports Center. The Panthers (5-2) return to the court Friday when they take on Farmingdale State at 5:00 p.m. on day one of Ramapo's Roadrunner Invitational.

The opening set was back and forth with neither team leading by more than four points. Trailing by four at 24-20, the Panthers saved four set points via three Purple Knight attack errors and a kill from Eliana Schaefer knotted the set at 24-24. The teams traded the next two points, before a kill from Becca Raffel and a St. Michael's attack error gave Middlebury the 27-25 victory.

With the second set deadlocked at 7-7, the visitors recorded nine of the ensuing 11 points for a 16-9 advantage. Raffel had three kills during the run, while Schaefer added a pair. St. Michael's (0-5) never got any closer in the set, as a pair of service aces from Beth Neal completed the scoring for a 25-11 win.

The final set saw the teams split the opening 10 points, but Middlebury put together a quick 6-1 spurt and were never challenged again the remainder of the set, including the final 10 points, for the 25-10 triumph.

Isabel Sessions paced the balanced Middlebury offense, finishing with a match-best total of 13 kills on 19 attempts and no errors for a .684 hitting percentage. That mark is the third-highest single-match percentage in the program's history. Raffel ended her night adding 11 kills on 25 attempts with two errors for a .360 hitting percentage to go along with nine digs, while Schaefer chipped in with eight kills and a .500 hitting percentage.

Emma Walsh handed out a match-high 28 assists to go along with seven digs. Gigi Alper ended the match with six service aces, tied for the second most in a three-set match in the program's history, in addition to eight digs, while Emily Kolodka dug up eight balls. Neal added three service aces for the Panthers.

As a team, the Panthers hit an impressive .400 (37-5-80) for the match, including a sparkling .526 (10-0-19) in the third set. The last time Middlebury hit over the .400 mark for a match was on September 14, 2013 against Mt. Ida (.460).

St. Michael's was paced by Jordan Dean with nine kills and 12 digs, while Tanner Barton tacked on eight kills. Gabby Ratte tallied a team-high 25 assists for the Purple Knights.