Pittsburgh -- Senior captain Amanda Graham (Melbourne, Fla. / Eau Gallie) and junior Hannah Veith (Columbus Ohio / Worthington) each recorded milestones in combining to lead the Robert Morris University volleyball team to its sixth straight home victory, a 25-14, 25-22, 21-25, 25-19 triumph over St. Francis (N.Y.) in Northeast Conference (NEC) action Sunday afternoon at the Charles L. Sewall Center.
Graham’s seventh kill of the afternoon, on the 25th point of the second game, put her at an even 1,000 for her career. She becomes just the seventh Colonial in program history to reach the 1,000-kill plateau and currently has the second highest career hitting percentage (.331) of the seven members. Graham will next look to catch Janette Schneider’s sixth-place mark of 1,049 kills.
“I’m happy with the win but wasn’t necessarily pleased with our overall effort,” Robert Morris head coach Dale Starr said. “I thought our middles played well, obviously Amanda reaching 1,000 is a great accomplishment. Corinne was strong for us defensively, and Amanda Craig had a really good match as well.”
Graham (pictured on the RMU home page) finished the day with 15 kills, the most in her last 22 home matches, and hit an even .500, her highest percentage in a conference match this season. She reached double figures in kills for the third consecutive match for the first time this season and has collected 42 kills overall in her last three matches, her highest three-match output since the end of the 2007 season. Graham has now hit at least .400 in 10 matches this season and is hitting a team-leading .403 at home.
While Graham was busy moving up in the record books, Veith, the NEC leader in blocks per game, succeeded in passing her up in one category. Veith’s third block assist of the day, on the match-clinching point no less, put her atop RMU’s single-season block assist list. Veith’s current total of 85 moved her past Graham who held the top spot entering the day after collecting 84 in each of the past two seasons. Graham collected two block assists on the day, giving her 84 for the season, and actually had tied her own record again before Veith moved past her. Veith moved into fifth place on the career block assist list (192) while Graham pushed her all-time record total to 317.
Veith also led the offensive attack for Robert Morris by tallying a match-high 18 kills while hitting .452. It was the ninth time this season that she hit at least .400 in a match. Graham and Veith were joined on the offensive side by sophomore Amanda Craig (Houston, Texas / St. Agnes Academy) who registered her fourth double-digit kill performance of the season and hit .391 for the match, the highest mark of her career when she’s had at least 20 attempts. Robert Morris put down 59 kills as a team, its best mark in its last 48 matches that have not gone five games.
Robert Morris came out firing, taking the first six points of the opening game, fueled by three kills and a block from Veith, and never looked back. St. Francis cut the margin to five at 7-2, but the Colonials took the next three points, and the Terriers would not closer than seven the rest of the way. RMU led by as many as 12 in coasting to the game one win.
St. Francis responded to open game two by taking 11 of the first 18 points, opening up a four-point edge. After Starr called a timeout, RMU regrouped and went on a 10-3 run in which sophomore Lindsey Monger (Rising Sun, Md. / Rising Sun) tallied two kills and a block. The Terries pulled within one on three occasions, but each time the Colonials responded with a kill on the ensuing exchange, and Robert Morris took the commanding two-game lead.
The teams split the first 16 points of the third game before the Terriers took four consecutive points to take a 12-8 lead. St. Francis was unable to extend its lead past five, but the Colonials could get no closer than two for the duration of the game. A Veith kill cut the lead to two, 22-20, prompting a Terrier timeout, but St. Francis won three of the next four points to extend the match.
RMU opened game four with a 6-2 run, but the Terries followed suit to knot the match at 8. The squads split the next 14 points and remained tied, 15-15. The Colonials then went on a 5-1 run, earning each point on a kill from four different players—Graham, Craig, senior captain Charla Drabant (Wheaton, Ill. / Wheaton North) and senior Jaye Hellmich (Costa Mesa, Calif. / Estancia)—to open up a four-point cushion. After the Terries cut the lead to two, 20-18, the Colonials used another 5-1 run, in which Craig provided two more kills, to close out the match.
Sophomore Andrea Catucci (Davidsonville, Md. / Archbishop Spalding) picked up her fourth double-double of the season by recording 30 assists and a career-high 13 digs. It is the third time in her last six matches that Catucci has added at least 30 helpers. Freshman Alex Deines (Centennial, Colo. / Littleton) also contributed 24 assists to the offensive cause for RMU.
Senior captain Corinne Moser (Meyersdale, Pa. / Meyersdale) led the defensive effort for RMU by corralling a season-high and match-high 24 digs, the second highest mark of her collegiate career. Monger added 11 digs, reaching double figures for the eighth consecutive match in that category. Drabant also tallied 11, giving the Colonials four players with double-digit digs.
Robert Morris, ranked 18th nationally in blocks per game entering the week, held a 6-5 edge over St. Francis in blocking. The slim margin kept the Colonials’ streak intact—no opponent has been able to outblock RMU in its last 16 matches.
With the win, RMU moves to 7-2 in the NEC and moves a full two games clear of third-place Long Island, who was idle Sunday. Robert Morris also won its 23rd consecutive match against the Terriers and moves its all-time mark to 24-1 against St. Francis.
The Colonials will look to take their strong play on the road as they will play their next four matches all away from home in a seven-day span. RMU opens the stretch with its final non-conference match of the season this Tuesday, Oct. 26, as it travels to Cleveland State for a matchup with the 17-4 Vikings.