The St. Lawrence University volleyball team earned a Liberty League split on Saturday, as the Saints followed up a tough 3-2 loss to Union with a 3-1 victory over RIT in Rochester, NY. The split ensured the Saints of the No. 3 seed in the upcoming Liberty League Tournament, where they will face Union in the semifinals.
St. Lawrence (19-9, 8-4) was led in both matches by sophomore Lexi Brown, who totaled 25 kills on the day. Union improved to 20-7 (9-2) with the dramatic 24-26, 19-25, 26-24, 25-16, 15-7 win, while RIT falls to 14-22 (3-9) after suffering the 25-15, 22-25, 25-18, 27-25 setback.
The Saints appeared to be headed for the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament, as they took a 2-0 lead in the opener against Union. However, the Dutchwomen rallied and pulled up a thrilling 26-24 win in the third set to force a fourth, where they won handedly 25-16. Union carried its momentum into the fifth, winning by a sound 15-7 margin.
"We got complacent when we jumped out to a 2-0 lead against Union and it cost us," said St. Lawrence head coach Shelly Roiger. "We failed to let our mistakes go and zapped ourselves out of energy."
Brown finished with a match-high 14 kills, while Rebecca Doser added 13 for the Scarlet and Brown. Captain Katie Prue had 18 digs defensively while the team totaled 15 block assists. Union was led by Rachel Wyman and Rajpreet Dhaliwal with 13 kills each, while Marissa Vollmer had 35 digs and Amanda Price recorded 31 assists in the win.
Though the Saints started strong with a 25-16 win in the first set over RIT, the Tigers responded in the second, pulling off a 25-22 win to even the match at 1-1. Though RIT would own the lead in both the third and fourth sets, St. Lawrence would prevail 25-18 in the third and ended the day with a 27-25 fourth set win to wrap up the No. 3 seed.
"We lacked energy throughout the RIT match. They played well, and we were fortunate to sneak out with a win," added Coach Roiger. "There's a lot of teachable moments from this weekend and we will be better against Potsdam State."
Brown again led St. Lawrence with 11 kills, while Cristina Deschaine had 10 kills and hit a team-high .444 in the match. Captain Jenna Street had 21 assists, Prue had 13 digs and the team's defense finished with a 12-0 advantage in block assists. Anna Valentine led the Tigers with 11 kills, while Emma Dowdy had nine kills and 19 assists for the home team.
St. Lawrence will host its final match of the year on Wednesday, October 30 when the Saints host Potsdam State in the annual "Dig Pink" match. The match, which will help raise money in the fight against breast cancer, is scheduled to start at 7:00pm in the Burkman Gymnasium.