HAMDEN, Conn. – The Quinnipiac women's volleyball team had no answer for the Marist combination of middle hitters as they fell to the Red Foxes on Wednesday, 3-0. Despite a strong showing from the Bobcats with seven team blocks and another team-leading seven kills from freshman Allison Leigh, Quinnipiac had no answer for Marist's Mackenzie Stephens (10 kills) and Courtney Shaw (8 kills) up the middle which proved the difference in the conference showdown. Quinnipiac drops to 4-21 (2-10 MAAC) on the season while Marist jumps up to the No. 3 ranking in the MAAC standings at 15-8 (9-4 MAAC).
Leigh posted another strong game for the Bobcats with a team-high seven kills on 14 total attempts to go along with five blocks to push her MAAC-leading total up to 109 on the season. She is entering her sixth week atop the MAAC blocks list while she also leads the conference in blocks per set average (1.25) by a wide margin. Also chipping in a solid game was freshman Jamie Paolucci (Lake Mary, Fla.) with five kills, game-high six blocks, three digs and one ace to complete her solid all-around day. Since Oct. 9, no other player on the Bobcat squad has registered more kills than Paolucci as she continues to round her game as the season winds down.
Junior Brittanie Robinson (17 assists, four digs) and freshman Cody Michaels (four assists, three digs) each saw some time at the setter position, filling in admirably for the absence of freshman Emma Ogden (Crown Point, Ind.) due to injury. Sophomore Chandler Thornton (Arlington, Texas) also added five kills, four digs and a game-high two service aces to complete her day. Making her return to the court after missing four games due to injury was freshman Sam Alechko (Harrington Park, N.J.) and she chipped in a nice game with three kills and a block in just two sets of action.
The Bobcats struggled to get going in the first set as they allowed the Red Foxes to jump out to a 15-7 lead but the home team slowly crept their way back in as they reeled off four straight points to make it a 15-12 game. Leigh posted a kill and then combined with Paolucci on a block before Thornton notched back-to-back aces to force a Marist timeout. The Red Foxes came out of the timeout and were able to close out the set despite trading points back-and-forth until the score was 18-15 and they claimed seven of the final 10 points in the set to take a 25-18 victory.
Quinnipiac hung in throughout the early to middle stages of the second set as senior Logan Riker (Bowling Green, Ohio) was the key cog with eight of her game-high 13 digs coming in the frame. Marist never led by more than three points until 14-11 and they went on an 11-5 run that sealed the second set victory, 25-16. The Marist offense was clicking on all cylinders, landing 12 kills in the stanza to just two errors.
The third set was decided early in the frame as Marist went on an extended 11-0 run that opened their lead to 13-2 before the Bobcats could gain some footing. Leigh did her best to keep her team in the game with three kills and two blocks in the third, but Marist's Stephens (four kills) and Becca Jones (three kills) were too much to handle as the Red Foxes pulled out a match-clinching 25-19 victory. Quinnipiac made it close down the stretch as they won eight of the final 12 points but it ultimately was not enough to come away with the victory.
Conference play continues this weekend as Quinnipiac travels down to N.J. where they will take on Rider (Saturday) and Saint Peter's (Sunday).
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