Hamilton splits two matches at Rochester Volleyball Invitational

#7 Claire Kitz '19 (Josh McKee photo)
#7 Claire Kitz '19 (Josh McKee photo)

Hamilton College rallied to defeat St. John Fisher College and was tripped up by SUNY Brockport at the 2016 University of Rochester Volleyball Invitational on Saturday afternoon.

The Continentals (2-2 overall) went 1-2 at the tournament. Hamilton dropped a four-set decision to SUNY Geneseo on Friday night. Erin Donahue '18 was one of 10 players selected for the all-tournament team after she ranked eighth in the tournament statistics with 2.50 kills per set.

In their first match of the day, the Continentals came back from two sets down to outlast St. John Fisher in a five-set thriller (19-25, 15-25, 25-17, 25-20, 15-8). The last time Hamilton recovered from a 2-0 deficit to win a match was at Wesleyan University on Oct. 2, 2015.

Giuliana Rankin '20 led all players with 17 kills and added five blocks for the Continentals against St. John Fisher. Claire Kitz '19 tied a career high with 13 kills and Kyndal Burdin '18 passed out 36 assists -- her highest total since 2014. Christine Zizzi '18 paced the team with 20 digs and two service aces. Burdin and Kendall Searcy '20 were credited with 14 digs apiece, and Courtney Brown '18 added 11.

The Cardinals (2-5) were led by Anna Marcy and her 16 kills. Katie Mazierski recorded a double-double with 10 kills and 18 digs. Phoebe Kane handed out 44 assists, served seven aces and had 12 digs. Jessica Simonetti boasted a match-high 23 digs and Olivia Levulis chipped in five blocks.

Hamilton broke a 2-2 tie with five straight points and St. John Fisher didn't get closer than three points the rest of the decisive fifth set. Kills by Brown and Burdin started the spurt and, after an attack error by the Cardinals, Rankin and Brown blocked a hitting attempt and Rankin made it 7-2 with a solo block.

The comeback started in the third set when the Continentals actually trailed 6-3 early but fought back to tie the score at 11-11. Kitz keyed a 5-0 run that enabled Hamilton to take control of the third. Kitz started the spurt with a kill and ended it with an ace. 

In the fourth set the teams were tied at 13-13 when the Continentals took the lead for good with three straight points. Hamilton still held a precarious 22-20 edge when Kitz hammered a pair of kills and Searcy closed out the set with another kill.

Brockport swept the Continentals in three sets (25-14, 25-16, 25-14) in the nightcap. Donahue whacked eight kills and Brown smashed seven. Burdin set up 20 kills, Meghan Wilkinson '19 served a pair of aces and Zizzi led the back row defense with 13 digs.

For the Golden Eagles (8-1), Emma Stoltz led all players with 16 kills and Maddy Taylor put up 23 digs. Noelle Poloncarz topped the team with 32 assists and four aces.

Hamilton plays its NESCAC opener at Wesleyan University on Friday, Sept. 16 at 8 p.m.