RIVERDALE, N.Y. – The upset-minded Bobcats had Manhattan on the run from Draddy Gymnasium but the Quinnipiac women's volleyball team couldn't close out the win, falling to the Jaspers, 3-2 in MAAC competition. Sensational individual efforts littered the stat sheet up and down the Quinnipiac lineup in their upset bid with four players recording at least nine kills and freshman Emma Ogden (Crown Point, Ind.) certainly setting the pace offensively for her team. The loss moves the ever-improving Bobcats to 2-13 (0-3 MAAC) while the Jaspers win their third straight and move to 10-7 (4-1 MAAC).
As a team, Quinnipiac tallied a season-high 52 kills and 50 assists as their offense was clicking on all cylinders Sunday afternoon. The kill total was their most in a match since Sept. 14, 2012 (32 matches) while it was their first match with at least 50 assists since Oct. 1, 2011 (52 matches).
Much credit should go to the play of Ogden, the Bobcats' freshman setter, who posted the best game of her young career with a season and game-high 44 assists to go along with seven digs, three kills, two blocks and one service ace. It marked the first match in which Ogden went over 40 assists and became the first Bobcat since Kayla Lawler on Oct. 30, 2011 (44 matches) to accomplish the feat.
For the Bobcat hitters, it was a day full of season-highs as sophomore Chandler Thornton (12 kills) and freshmen Allison Leigh (11 kills, five blocks) and Jamie Paolucci (12 kills, six digs, four blocks) all tallied season-high kill totals. It was the first time in Paolucci's young career she pushed into the double figures for kills in a match while it was Leigh's fourth time this season and Thornton's second.
Leigh's block total for the day pushed her MAAC-leading season total to 58 while she also continues to lead the conference with 1.07 blocks per set. The defensive effort was also aided by senior libero Logan Riker (Bowling Green, Ohio) who notched a game-high 20 digs against the Jaspers for her first game with at least 20 digs since Sept. 14, 2012.
The Bobcats came out firing on all cylinders as they built an early 6-1 lead due mainly from the serve of Riker (two aces). Manhattan slowly creaked back into the match and came as close to two points from the Bobcats' total but Quinnipiac would never relinquish the lead in the first set. Riker came up with a big kill at the end of the set to give her team a three point cushion and Thornton ended the set with a set-winning kill to give her team a 25-22 win.
Manhattan came alive in the second set as they started on an 8-3 run and continued to build upon their lead as much as 18-9. The Bobcats finally gained their footing late in the set starting with a pair of blocks from Leigh followed by three kills from the freshman middle hitter to keep the game within reach. But the Jaspers closed out the set victory, 25-17.
After the Jaspers worked their way to another commanding victory in the third, due mainly from 10-2 run in the middle stages of the stanza, the Bobcats needed a win in the fourth to force a decisive fifth set.
Despite all the momentum favoring the host Manhattan, it was the heavy underdog Bobcat squad who dominated the fourth. It took a while for the road team to get going but junior Tanner Celestin (Norco, Calif.) started the run with a kill that led to a seven straight Quinnipiac points. Freshman Sam Alechko (Harrington Park, N.J.) picked up a solo block and Celestin smashed three aces within the Quinnipiac run. Paolucci added a kill late and Leigh ended the set with a kill from Ogden to give the Bobcats their largest margin of victory in a set all season.
Both sides took to the bench one more time before the start of the deciding fifth set but it was all Jaspers throughout the fifth. They started on a 6-1 run and never looked back as the Bobcats would get to within just four points throughout the remainder as Manhattan claimed the victory, 15-6.
Quinnipiac's continued improved play will be back at home on Saturday and Sunday next weekend when they will take on Rider and Saint Peter's in hopes of securing their first ever MAAC win.
Contact: Maxx McNall; email@example.com