Volleyball Takes Caldwell To Brink, But Blinks

Volleybal back row defense
Sierra Gallagher posted 31 digs during a Sept. 26, 2019, loss at Caldwell. (Steven R. Smith)

CALDWELL, N.J. – Despite a spirited, intense showing against Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference North Division rival Caldwell University, the Felician University women's volleyball team ended up on the short end of a 3-2 (25-18, 20-25, 25-19, 24-26, 15-8) CACC decision to the host Cougars on Thursday night at the George R. Newman Center.

Felician and Caldwell entered the night as the only teams from the CACC North to hold 2-0 conference records. They played a back-and-forth affair that needed two hours, 23 minutes, to settle. Caldwell junior opposite hitter Chloe Kissner (Seabrook, Texas) keyed the hosts' deciding set win with kills on four of her team's final seven points.

Cougar sophomore outside hitter Elise Smith (O'Fallon, Ill.) hit .354 with 27 kills and 16 digs, while Kissner totaled 20 kills. Senior outside Raamiah Edwards (Bloomfield, N.J.) paced Felician (3-12, 2-1) with 13 kills and 11 digs, and Golden Falcon sophomore libero Sierra Gallagher (Honolulu, Hawaii) led all players with a season-high 31 digs.

Felician was held to a team attack percentage of .034 for the night. The Golden Falcons committed 38 attack errors and allowed nine aces. But the visitors remained in contention. They led for most of Set 2 and captured it by claiming seven of the final eight rallies after trailing, 19-18.

After a poor third set during which its miscues awarded the Cougars more than half of their points, Felician found itself leading Set 4, 24-21. Caldwell saved all three match points to draw even, but the Golden Falcons responded with a kill from Tabatha Wagner (Wabash, Ind.) and an Edwards ace to extend the match.

Caldwell led the deciding set, 8-5, at the changeover. Kills by Katie Asbery (Mililani, Hawaii) and Edwards pulled the visitors within one, but the next three rallies were ended on kills by Kissner. A trio of mistakes by Felician set up match point, and two rallies later, Kissner's 20th kill put the hosts alone in first place.

Sophomore Maddie Sloan (Caldwell, N.J.) (11 digs) and Wagner (seven digs) each put down nine kills for Felician. Golden Falcon setter Miquela Martinez (Santa Fe, N.M.) totaled 35 assists and 12 digs.

Felician is in the middle of a stretch of four matches in five days. On Friday, the Golden Falcons travel to Post University for a 6 p.m. CACC tilt in Waterbury, Conn.