NIAGARA UNIV., N.Y. – The Quinnipiac women's volleyball team's 2013 season came to an end on Sunday with a 3-1 loss at the hands of Niagara. Junior Tanner Celestin (Norco, Calif.) went off for 13 kills and 17 digs to tally her first career double-double for the Bobcats while freshman Allison Leigh (Palmer, Alaska) compiled five more blocks to finish first in the MAAC in total blocks with 136. Quinnipiac finishes their 2013 campaign with a 5-26 record and 3-15 mark in MAAC play while the Purple Eagles improve to 4-25 with an identical 3-15 conference record to finish their season.
A day after going for 13 kills against Canisius, Celestin's arsenal was in full force on Sunday against the Purple Eagles as she matched her season-high kill total and was just one dig shy (17) of matching her career high. Nevertheless, the sensational all-around performance was good enough for her first career double-double in the 2013 season finale.
Leigh closed out a phenomenal debut season for the Bobcats as she finished with the highest block total among MAAC players (136) and fell just nine shy of matching Quinnipiac's single-season program record of 145 achieved back in 1998 by Shannon Dublin. She added four kills on Sunday to give her a team-leading 216 for the season, the first Bobcat to go over 200 kills in a season since 2010. The middle hitter also finished with a sensational hitting percentage of .280 in conference play which finished in the Top 5 among all players in the MAAC.
Seniors Logan Riker (Bowling Green, Ohio) and Bonnie Conklin (Plano, Texas) laced it up for the last time as Bobcats both moved up in the Quinnipiac record books in the process. Riker tallied 13 digs in her 112th career match as her program record career dig total finished at 1469. She will also go out with the fifth-most career sets played (389) and service aces (75) in Quinnipiac's history. Conklin, meanwhile, needed two blocks coming into the weekend to finish in the Top 10 all-time list and she easily met that goal adding seven to her career block total which now stands at 139, good enough for 10th place in the Division I record books.
Continuing to supply plenty of offense for the Bobcats was junior setter Brittanie Robinson (Fresno, Calif.) who compiled an impressive all-around stat line of 33 assists and nine digs as she barely missed out on a double-double. Robinson did a masterful job filling in for the Bobcats' injured freshman setter Emma Ogden as she recorded 220 assists in eight matches to end the season playing away from her natural outside hitter position.
The Bobcat offense figures to be in good hands next season as the freshmen duo of Katie Urycki (Chesterton, Ind.) and Jamie Paolucci (Lake Mary, Fla.) each finished with seven kills against Niagara. The pairing finished behind Leigh for the team-lead in kills this season (Paolucci 171, Urycki 164) as the sophomores-to-be will all figure to help continue to build this program moving forward.
As for the match, Quinnipiac's offense shined in the second set as they smacked 17 kills against just four errors for a .351 hitting percentage in that frame alone as the Bobcats dominated for a 25-20 set victory. Niagara, however, commanded the rest of the match as the Purple Eagles came away with a 26-15 first set victory and closed out the match with 25-18 and 25-14 set victories in the third and fourth stanza.
The Bobcats jumped up three wins from their 2012 season total of two and will return 11 of 13 letterwinners including six freshmen to the 2014 squad that figures to be in the running for their first ever MAAC Tournament appearance.
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