NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Despite improved offensive play from the Bobcats' hitters, the Quinnipiac women's volleyball team fell to Iona, 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-21), in their road conference showdown on Saturday. The Bobcats committed their fewest errors in a match (17) since their second contest of the season (Aug. 30 vs. SMU) and posted their third-highest hitting percentage (.098) in a match all season despite the loss. Quinnipiac's loss drops them to 2-12 (0-2 MAAC) while Iona wins their second straight to improve to 3-10 (1-2 MAAC).
The Bobcat offense was led by junior outside hitter Tanner Celestin (Norco, Calif.) who continued her hot streak with eight kills, four digs and three blocks (one solo, two assists). After tallying nine kills in Wednesday's match against Hartford, Celestin came up with eight in just three sets on Saturday to lead the team. Sophomore Chandler Thornton (Arlington, Texas) played a solid all-around match with four kills, nine digs and one service ace. Freshman Emma Ogden (Crown Point, Ind.) continued to distribute the ball well with 24 assists to go along with six digs and two kills.
It was a back-and-forth affair between both sides early as Iona started the match off with six consecutive points followed by five consecutive points from the Bobcats. Celestin posted a kill and block assist in the early going to help spark the Bobcat run. The Gaels however, would run away with the set compiling victories in 14 of the next 20 points to take a commanding nine point lead. Celestin did her best to bring her team back with a kill and solo block to briefly stale the run but Iona was too much in the first and claimed a 25-18 victory.
The second set began on a promising note for the Bobcats as they weathered an early Gael run and knotted the score at 10-10 through the early stages. Iona's offense then seized control as four kills and an ace helped carry the team to an 8-1 run. Quinnipiac closed the gap to as few as three points in the later stages of the set with freshman Jamie Paolucci (Lake Mary, Fla.) playing a large role with a pair of aces but it wasn't enough as the Gaels took down another 25-18 victory.
Iona would trail in the third set for the first time in the match as freshman Allison Leigh (Palmer, Alaska) and Celestin combined for a block to give their team the lead in the early going. The Bobcats would keep the score close throughout the early to middle stages of the set, mainly off the efforts of Paolucci who tallied four of her five kills in the third set. The decisive run came when Iona claimed five straight points to take a 19-13 lead, an advantage they would never relinquish as the Bobcats fell, 25-21, in the final set.
The Bobcats will head back to NYC on Sunday when they take on Manhattan College from the Draddy Gymnasium in Riverdale, N.Y. with the match scheduled to tip at 1:00 pm.
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