Skidmore rallies past Rivier
Vershbow posts 27 kills to lead Thoroughbreds in five sets
POTSDAM, N.Y. – Thanks to 27 kills from senior Kelley Vershbow, Skidmore rallied from a 2-0 deficit to claim a five-set victory against Rivier 20-25, 20-25, 25-10, 25-22, 15-9 in the opening round of the Division III Women's Volleyball Championship.
The Thoroughbreds, seeded third in the region, improved to 28-8 on the season and will play in the regional semifinal against the winner of Colby-Sawyer and Middlebury at 3:30 pm. Rivier completed its season with a record of 22-14.
Rivier put together a diverse and impressive offensive attack in the first two sets, headed by junior outside hitter Kenna Finlayson. The Raiders struck for 32 kills against just 10 errors in the opening two sets. The Thoroughbreds were solid in their offensive effort as well, but their percentages (.226 in the opening set and .200 in the second set) allowed for additional opportunities by the Raiders.
The momentum changed in the third set as Skidmore, facing elimination, found another gear to climb out of the deficit. Vershbow, Corinne Palmer and Aria Goodman led an attack that hit .667 in the third set (12 kills, 0 errors, 18 attempts) while the Raiders hit negative in the set with 10 errors against just nine kills.
Though the fourth set was up for grabs late, a strong finish allowed Skidmore to hold on to the momentum going into the fifth set. The Raiders rallied to take four of the first even points in the final set; however, Skidmore went on a run to force a timeout by Rivier coach Craig Kolek just before the bench switch. From there, the Thoroughbreds were able to maintain an advantage without seriously being challenged for the set, closing out the match 15-9.
Rivier was led by Kenna Finlayson, who delivered a match-best 28 kills, taking 76 swings for a .263 hitting percentage. Middle hitter Nicole Peacock was dominant when set, killing 15 balls with just two errors in 31 swings for a hitting percentage of .419. Nicole Boucher also struck for 12 kills in the middle for the Raiders. Lauren Saccoccio had match-bests of 53 assists and three aces for the Raiders, while Emileigh Cenedella posted 17 digs.
Skidmore struck for a team-hitting percentage of .309 (58-15-139). Palmer had 13 kills and just one error in 28 swings for the Thoroughbreds, while Aria Goodman added 10 kills and only two errors in 25 swings. Mallory Mendelsohn produced 52 assists. Palmer added four blocks and Sam Friedman posted 31 digs through the five sets.