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Women's Volleyball Earns Thrilling Five Set Win over St. Joseph's Brooklyn

The Maritime College women's volleyball team picked up a crucial Skyline Conference victory against St. Joseph's Brooklyn on Thursday night. Despite a huge comeback effort from the Bears after dropping the opening two sets, the Privateers came out in the fifth and deciding set and dominated play to earn a decisive 15-5 win. The first set was full of momentum swings, but the one key factor throughout the opening frame was the Privateers middle hitter, Meredith Hayes (Houston, Texas/St. Agnes Academy). The Houston, TX native played in just her second game back from injury and crushed the Bears in the first set. Hayes tallied a total of seven kills, including three kills in the final four points won by Maritime as they escaped with a 25-23 win. The energy Hayes brought at the end of the first set carried the Privateers into the second as they controlled the tempo the entire way. Leading 21-18 and looking to take a 2-0 lead on the Bears, sophomore setter Erika Kirchner (Meadowmere Park, N.Y./Lawrence) turned to Hayes again to close it out as the senior once again tallied three kills in the final four points. Hayes totaled 14 kills in just the first two sets and was looking unstoppable out of the middle. Although all signs were pointing to a sweep for Maritime, St. Joseph's Brooklyn had other ideas and came out firing in the third set. Trailing 12-7 early on, the Privateers woke up and started a comeback of their own and eventually took back the lead behind a solo block from Celyna Custodio (Danbury, Conn./Danbury).at 16-15. However, it was the Bears turn to close out a set strong and won four of the last five points to pick up a 25-22 win. The Privateers came out sloppy in the fourth set and St. Joseph's Brooklyn took advantage and jumped ahead 8-1. The early advantage proved to be the difference maker in the fourth set as the Privateers tried to battle their way back in the rest of the way, but ultimately fell 25-19 and the match was forced into a fifth set. Abby Steele (Crossville, Tenn./Stone Memorial) came up clutch for Maritime in final set, with the score still close at 5-3, the Crossville, TN native picked up three big kills on the outside to help the Privateers run six consecutive points and take an 11-3 lead. In a set to 15, the advantage was too much to overcome for the Bears and Maritime walked away with a vital Skyline win in five sets. Kirchner was incredible for the Privateers offense and recorded the second most assists in program history for a single game by dishing out 44. Hayes finished with 18 kills and an impressive .375 hitting percentage.Custodio was also solid out of the middle tallying 13 kills and four total solo blocks. Steele chipped in 14 of her own on the outside as well as 13 digs for a double-double. Kirchner led the defense with 21 digs, while Meghan Eagleton (Poughkeepsie, N.Y./Roy C. Ketcham) finished with the second highest at 15, as well as eight kills. Maritime returns to the court this Sunday for a tri-match at St. Joseph's Long Island where they will take on Old Westbury in addition to the Golden Eagles.

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