Volleyball Allows Set 1 Comeback, Falls To Caldwell

Women's volleyball dig.
MaryGrace Puryear (white jersey) had 14 digs and three aces in a Sept. 11, 2018, home loss to Caldwell. (Steven R. Smith)

RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Felician University could not recover from yielding a late first-set lead in its 3-0 (26-24, 25-21, 25-17) Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference women's volleyball loss to visiting Caldwell University on Tuesday night at Job Gymnasium.

Caldwell freshman outside hitter Elise Smith (O'Fallon, Ill./O'Fallon) posted a .333 attack percentage and led all players on the night with 19 kills. Cougar sophomore outside Marina Schlaepfer (Aurora, Colo./Grandview) added 10 kills. Freshman outside Kahea Aea (Mililani, Hawaii/Kamehameha) led Felician (1-5, 0-2 CACC) with 11 kills.

The tightly-contested three-setter was tied on 24 occasions, with eight of them coming in the opener. The teams were never separated by more than three points throughout Set 1. With the sides even at 21-21, kills by Aea and Katie Asbery (Mililani, Hawaii/Mililani) sandwiched a Cougar error and brought the Golden Falcons to the brink of victory at 24-21.

Felician, however, never won another rally in the set. Caldwell saved three set points on a kill and block from Katie Compagno (Orland Park, Ill./Providence Catholic) and a Smith kill, took the lead when Schlaepfer ended a rally, and, following a Felician timeout, claimed the 26-24 triumph on another kill by Smith.

The hosts recovered fairly early in Set 2, turning a 4-1 deficit into a 9-7 lead. The second set featured 12 ties and seven lead changes. It was also even, 21-21, and once again it was the visitors that made an uprising, winning the final four points for a 2-0 edge.

Caldwell captured momentum early in Set 3, moving on top, 11-5. Felician closed to within 12-10 on three consecutive kills by junior Jazlyn Pipkins (Paris, Texas/Paris), but two Humiko Stormer (Luckey, Ohio/St. Ursula Academy) service aces keyed a Cougar run that extended the lead to 20-12. The teams traded three-point runs, but Caldwell ended the match on a kill by setter Jordan Hoffman (Colorado Springs, Colo./Mesa Ridge).

Compagno totaled six kills and four blocks for Caldwell (3-8, 2-0). Felician received nine kills each from Asbery and Pipkins, who hit .375. Golden Falcon sophomore libero MaryGrace Puryear (Cranford, N.J./Cranford) produced career highs of 14 kills and three aces.

Felician hosts Concordia (N.Y.) College on Friday night and Goldey-Beacom College on Saturday afternoon in CACC action in Rutherford.