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Photo by Chris Ebert

 

Lewiston grad Ciarra McNally posted 22 kills in Saint Mary’s hard-fought matchup with Macalester College last Friday.

By Frankie Bakalars, Saint Mary's Sports Information intern

 

The Saint Mary's University (SMU) and Macalester College volleyball teams entered last Friday's Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) match as mirror images of each other — both boasting identical 3-4 conference records and sitting deadlocked for the sixth and final MIAC Tournament spot with four matches to play.

So, it was only fitting that the match would come down to a race to 15 in the fifth and final set.

Unfortunately for the Cardinals, it was the Scots who had the better finishing kick, as Macalester  posted a 15-12 victory in the fifth and decisive set to deal SMU a 3-2 setback at the Saint Mary's Gym.

Trailing 23-20 in the opening set, Saint Mary's rattled off four unanswered points for a 24-23 lead. The Scots, however, held off one set point, and, after the Cardinals survived two Macalester set points, scored back-to-back points for a 29-27 victory

The Cardinals regrouped in the second set — in a big way. Led by the play of Ciarra McNally, who recorded seven second-set kills, the Cardinals dominated from start-to-finish en route to a convincing 25-10 victory.

The third set was a carbon copy of the first, with four lead changes and eight ties, and Macalester once again came away with the marathon set win, taking a 2-1 lead with a 28-26 victory.

The Cardinals evened the match at 2-2 in the fourth set, but it was far from easy, as neither team could take command of the set, before Saint Mary's used a late push to seal a 25-22 victory — and force the decisive fifth set.

Macalester scored the first three points, and, despite a late Cardinal rally, held on for a 15-12 victory, evening their conference record at 4-4.

McNally finished the match with a double-double, including 22 kills and 14 digs, while Faith Van Erp chipped in 10 kills. Mandy Schmidt followed McNally's lead with a double-double of her own, recording 34 assists and delivering 12 digs, and DeJaye Baab contributed 22 digs for the Cardinals.