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Merrimack Volleyball Picks Up Five-Set Win at Stonehill

EASTON, Mass. – Freshman Catherine Flaherty (North Andover, Mass.) struck 25 kills to the court on 45 total attacks while only committing one error to headline Tuesday’s 3-2 victory for the Merrimack College women’s volleyball team against the Stonehill College Skyhawks from Merkert Gymnasium.

The Basics
Score: Merrimack 3
, Stonehill 2 ( 23-25 | 25-21 | 25-21 | 25-27 | 19-17)
Records: Merrimack (3-16, 2-3 NE-10)
 | Stonehill (7-9, 2-3 NE-10)
Location:
 Easton, Mass. | Merkert Gymnasium

How It Happened

  • 1st set – The Warriors opened an 8-3 lead in the first set that included a 5-0 run to break a 3-3 tie. Trailing 14-11, the Skyhawks won four unanswered points to take the lead back. The first set was tied on nine occasions before Stonehill eventually won the frame on its second set point, 25-23
  • 2nd set – Facing an 8-7 deficit, the Navy and Gold went on a 5-0 run that featured a service ace from Jennifer Cain (Melrose, Mass.) to gain momentum. Flaherty recorded three of the final nine Merrimack points of the set, while classmate Julia Stewart (Melville, N.Y.) hit a service ace to win, 25-21, and tie the match at one-all
  • 3rd set – Seven of the first eight points of the third frame went to the Warriors, with Flaherty notching a pair of kills and seniors Juliette McCall (Torrance, Calif.) and Tara Stuhr (Huntington Beach, Calif.) each netting a point. Stonehill never led in the third set, but rallied to pull within three points on a few occasions. With the score at 24-21, Merrimack’s captain connection of Stuhr to Cain won the set for the Navy and Gold
  • 4th set – Junior Mary Kate McCarroll (Harrison, Ohio) got the Warriors off to a strong start with back-to-back kills at the beginning of the set. Merrimack appeared primed to take the match in four sets, leading at 24-21 facing multiple match point. The Skyhawks proved resilient, however, rallying to win three straight point to knot things at 24-all. Flaherty won the next point, but Stonehill answered with another 3-0 spurt to force a fifth set
  • 5th set – Just like Merrimack’s Northeast-10 victory at Saint Michael’s, the final set would need to extra points to decide a victor. A 4-0 run with kills from Cain, McCarroll and Christina Nye (Plaistow, N.H.) staked Merrimack to a 10-4 advantage, but the Skyhawks once again surged back to take a 16-15 lead to serve for the match. Stuhr and McCarroll picked up pivotal kills to deny the Skyhawks the victory, before winning back-to-back points to take the set, 19-17, and the match, 3-2

Inside The Numbers

  • For just the second time this season, Flaherty finished in double figures in kills, and Merrimack is now 2-0 in matches when she does so. The 25 points broke her previous season high of 18 in the Warriors’ 3-2 victory over Saint Michael’s
  • The individual performance of 25 kills marks the most for the Warriors in nearly three years, when former all-region performer Stephanie Sheehan posted 28 in a match at Pace in 2013
  • Stuhr’s 51 assists on the evening were her second highest output of the season, falling 14 shy of her career performance against Saint Michael’s in the NE-10 opener
  • Known for her attacking prowess, Cain shined on the defensive end for the Warriors. The two-year captain finished with a career-high 25 digs to lead all players. Her sister, sophomore Amanda Cain (Melrose, Mass.), also set a personal best with 13 digs from her defensive specialist position
  • Flaherty’s .533 hitting percentage led all players with at least 10 attacks, while McCarroll also notched an extremely efficient clip of .344, totaling 15 kills on 32 attacks
  • Merrimack’s third-set effort shone above the rest, as the Warriors hit at a .444 clip as a team, totaling 14 kills on 27 attacks with only a pair of digs

Up Next
The Warriors travel to Worcester, Mass. on Thursday for a non-conference tilt with the Assumption Greyhounds at 7 p.m.

Mike McMahon is in his 12th year covering Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report. Mike also serves on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN

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