New Haven, Conn. – The Albertus Magnus College women's volleyball team dropped a hard-fought Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) clash versus in-state foe St. Joseph, 3-0, on Thursday evening at The Nest inside the Cosgrove Marcus Messer Athletic Center. With the loss, the Falcons move to 2-8 overall and 0-1 in conference play, while the Blue Jays won their second straight road GNAC game to improve to 6-6 on the year and 2-2 in league action.
The match was closer than the score indicates, as Albertus Magnus tied up both the second and third games late. St. Joseph topped the hosts, 25-17, 25-23 and 25-22 to earn the victory.
The visitors got off to a quick start in the opening frame, taking an early 9-2 advantage following an ace from freshman right side Carly Ruzbasen. The Falcons would answer with a run of their own to pull within one at 10-9 courtesy of a bad set by the Blue Jays. St. Joseph would weather the storm and build its lead to as many as eight at 20-12 after a kill from senior outside hitter Emily Vigue. The guests took an early, 1-0, lead after a kill from senior outside hitter Tiffany Mapusaga ended the set.
In the second game, the Blue Jays built their lead to as many as seven two different occasions. First, a Falcon attack error gave USJ a 16-9 edge and later an ace from freshman libero Cinthia Vega-Ortiz gave the visitors a 19-12. Late in the stanza, Albertus Magnus reeled off four unanswered points with sophomore Marielis Muriel (New Haven, Conn.) at the service line to tie it at 23. During the spurt, the Blue Jays committed three attack errors and one ball-handling error as the hosts came charging back. Following an AMC attack error, St. Joseph took a commanding 2-0 lead thanks to a kill from sophomore middle hitter Hannah Lemek.
In the third and final game, the Falcons fought back late once again to tie it up. Trailing by 22-18, AMC scored four consecutive points to knot it at 22. Down the stretch, the guests regained their composure and scored the final three points to escape with their second conference win.
Offensively, the Falcons were led by sophomore middle hitter Ana Gomez (New haven, Conn.) with seven kills, while junior outside hitter Amber Cohens (Hamden, Conn.) added five of her own. Senior setter Ramona Onofrio (East Haven, Conn.) had another strong game for Albertus Magnus, dishing out 14 assists and digging a team-best 14 balls. Also on the defensive side, freshman defensive specialist Megan Warnke (Naugatuck, Conn.) contributed 13 digs and Cohens had two blocks.
Mapusaga paced the Blue Jay attack with a match-high 11 kills to go along with seven assists. Other contributors on the offensive end for St. Joseph were Vigue with eight kills and Lemek with six of her own. Ruzbasen registered a match-best 19 assists to go along with five aces. Defensively, Mapusaga had 16 digs, while Ruzbasen and freshman Sarah Lipinski each added 14. Lipinski also recorded a match-high three blocks.
Albertus Magnus returns to action this Saturday, Oct. 3, hosting a tri-match versus conference foes Anna Maria and St. Joseph's (Me.). The Falcons square off with the AmCats at 11:00 a.m. and close out play with a match against the Monks.