NEW ROCHELLE, NY - The Iona College volleyball team dropped a five set decision to Niagara Saturday afternoon at the Hynes Athletics Center in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action. Set scores were 28-26, 25-21, 22-25, 14-25 and 15-13.
In set one, the Gaels got out to an 11-8 lead before Niagara stormed back, getting a set point opportunity at 24-22. Iona game back to tie the set, and took a 25-24 lead before the Purple Eagles took three of the next four points for the 28-26 win.
In the second set, the teams went back and forth on points. With the set tied 16-16, Niagara would go on a 5-2 run to take a 21-18 lead. Iona would get within one, 22-21, before Niagara took the final three points of the set.
In the third set, Iona came out firing, leading for the duration of the set. Iona would take a 5-2 lead early, and then took its largest lead of the set, 20-14 on a kill by junior Taylor Cemabalisty. Four straight points by Niagara would narrow the margin before the Gaels went on a 4-0 run of their own to take a 24-18 lead. Niagara would answer four set points to trim the lead to two, 24-22, before the Gaels closed the set on a kill by sophomore Katy Crouse.
In the fourth set, Iona used a 5-0 run in the middle of the frame to jump ahead 17-10, and later extended the lead to double digits, 22-12, on a kill by freshman Karly White. The Gaels would then finish the set on a 3-2 run, finished off by another kill by Crouse.
In the fifth and final set, with the scored tied at 10, Niagara picked up three straight win points to take a 13-10 lead. Iona would battle back to get within one, 14-13, before the Purple Eagles secured the match's final point.
Senior Alicja Pawelec led the Gaels with 19 kills, one of four players with double digits in the category. Crouse had 12 kills to go with a career high 20 digs, while Cembalisty had a double double with 14 kills and 16 digs. Sophomore Natalie Ziskin posted a game high 49 assists and 14 digs in the contest.
Niagara was led by Allison Reis' game high 23 digs and Amanda Sedore's game high 26 kills.
The loss snapped the Gaels' six game winning streak, and marked its first loss of the season at home.
Iona is back in action next Saturday, when they take on Quinnipiac on the road at 1:00 pm.