ALBANY, N.Y. – Russell Sage College battled back from a 2-0 deficit to force a fifth set with visiting MCLA Friday night at the Kahl Campus Center. The Gators, which recognized three student-athletes before the non-conference action as part of "Senior Night", were edged 16-14 in the deciding frame.
Each of the three honorees contributed to the comeback. Junior outside hitter Sydney Shepard (Canajoharie, NY/Canajoharie) topped RSC with 15 kills, a career-best, while junior defensive specialist Rylie Gray (Bombay, NY/Salmon River Central) registered a career-high 18 digs. Senior defensive specialist Elaina Moisidis (Albany, NY/Albany), the Empire 8 Conference leader in digs and digs per-set, equaled a season-high with 32 digs and aced three serves.
Middle hitter Celia Gagnon (Troy, NY/Ichabod Crane), a graduate student, also finished off 15 rallies, while junior setter Statia Walker (Schodack, NY/Maple Hill), who dished out the 1,000th assist of her career earlier this fall, recorded 43 assists and 14 digs for her tenth double-double of the season.
MCLA (11-5) had three players tally double-digit kills in the road win. Freshman outside hitter Elizabeth Brown registered 19 kills on .231 hitting and 16 digs to lead the trio. Sophomore right side Chloie Garber also accomplished a double-double, totaling 14 kills and 15 digs. Freshman setter Shannon O'Brien dished out 42 assists, while sophomore libero Ellie Walter-Goodspeed elevated 21 RSC attacks.
After dropping the first two sets, the Gators forced the visitors into -.071 hitting to earn a 25-22 win. Holding a 19-17 lead in the fourth stanza, RSC picked up four of the next five points to help set up the race to 15. The fifth set featured nine of the 24 deadlocks of the night and five lead changes before the Trailblazers emerged on top.
Looking ahead, the Gators (4-17) are back on the court a week from tonight, when Elmira visits KCC. The E8 action is set to begin at 7:00 pm.
Senior Night: Before tonight's contest, RSC Athletics recognized three student-athletes: junior outside hitter Sydney Shepard (Canajoharie, NY/Canajoharie), junior defensive specialist Rylie Gray (Bombay, NY/Salmon River Central), and senior defensive specialist Elaina Moisidis (Albany, NY/Albany) for their contributions to the women's volleyball program.
Notes: The program has seen many career milestones achieved this fall...Head coach Sandy Augstein-Collins, now in her 13th season coaching at RSC and 26th overall, picked up her 375th career victory on September 14 vs. SUNY Cobleskill…Moisidis, who topped the Empire 8 Conference with 492 digs, 4.82 per-set, last fall, became the 15th RSC player to surpass 1,000 career digs on September 10 at the SUNY New Paltz Tournament…She ranks sixth in program records with 1,242 career digs…Walker dished out the 1,000th assist of her career on September 30 at St. John Fisher…She sits seventh in school annals with 1,115 career assists…The setter has tallied ten double-doubles this season…Gagnon is closing in on her 500th career kill…She closed tonight with 493 career kills and would be just the 18th RSC player to reach the mark.