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By Steven Merritt
POUGHKEEPSIE – The Vassar Women’s Volleyball dropped two matches in the first home tri-match of the season on Saturday afternoon. The Brewers dropped a 18-25, 19-25, 19-25 decision to Merchant Marine and then suffered a 25-20, 20-25, 22-25, 18-25 loss to Muhlenberg.
USMMA 3 – Vassar 0
The first set of the day was back and forth as the set was never separated by four points until USMMA scored the final six points of the set to take the 18-25 victory. Junior Ava Casalino led the way with three kills in the set for Vassar.
In the second set, the set began back and forth as freshman Melia Voss scored back to back points off a service ace as well as a kill to tie the set at nine. USMMA scored seven of the next eight points to take a 16-10 lead. A late run from a kill from senior Kaitlin Birnbaum and a block from freshman Rebecca Gutierrez and Casalino cut the deficit to 19-23 but the Mariners scored the next two points to take the set.
Once again, the third set had a back and forth beginning as the set stayed within two points until the 9-9 kill by Birnbaum. The Mariners tallied five of the next six points to push its lead to 15-10. Birnbaum tallied two kills and an ace at the end of the set to cut it to 19-24 but USMMA’s Paige Smith buried a kill to take the three set victory.
Casalino led the way with six kills while Casalino, Gutierrez and sophomore Julia Hale each had three blocks on the day. Junior Maya Levine had a team-high 10 digs while sophomore Morgan Miller added nine. Voss finished the game with 15 assists.
Smith led the Mariners with a game-high 12 kills and Claire Hyun handed out 18 assists. Stephanie Schatzman earned a game-high 12 digs.
MUHLENBERG 3 – VASSAR 1
Vassar took the opening set of the second match of the day as sophomore Hailey Hayes buried five kills in rout to the opening set victory. The Brewers opened the lead up from 14-13 to 17-13 on a Hayes kill, service aces and a block from Hale.
Vassar started the second set strong as the Brewers raced out to a 16-11 advantage on kills from five different Brewers. Muhlenberg tied the set up at 16 on a Vassar attack error but Vassar held a 20-19 edge late in the set. The Mules then scored the final six points of the set to tie the match up at one set apiece.
In the third set, the Brewers and Mules traded multiple leads as Gutierrez’s kill tied the set up at 11 for fifth time in the set. However, Muhlenberg went on a six point run to push their lead to 11-17. Vassar had a run of its own as a kill from Hayes tied the set back up at 19 apiece. Back to back Muhlenberg kills got the match to 21-24 but a Hayes kill stopped the run. A Brewers attack error earned the Mules the set point.
Muhlenberg pulled ahead late in the fourth set as two kills by Esmae Oehler pushed the Mules lead to 17-22 and she added another kill to take the match 3-1.
Hayes finished the match with a game-high 15 kills while Hale and Gutierrez each added seven. Voss handed out 35 assists as Hale also added seven blocks. Levine and freshman Ellie Kogan led the team with 12 digs apiece.
Oehler ended up with 14 kills for Muhlenberg as Christina Marcin added 12. Emma Eglinton handed out 28 assists and Catherine Maguire had four blocks.