Staten Island, NY | The Dolphins opened up their season 2-0 for the first time since 2014 and for just the second time in program history. Staten Island knocked off St. Joseph’s College – BK, 3-0, before following that up with a 3-1 win over Cairn University in the final match of the afternoon. St. Joseph’s College dropped to 1-2 on the year while Cairn University leveled out a 1-1.
Match 1: Staten Island 3, St. Joseph’s College – BK 0 (25-12, 27-25, 25-19)
Newcomers, junior Francesca Castellano and freshman Arianna Spears made an instant impact in their first match in a Dolphin uniform. Spears was cerebral on the court, setting up her teammates with perfectly timed passes and amassed 31 assists in the first match of the non-conference tri-match. Castellano wore down the Bears with her 31 powerful attacking attempts, seven of which turned into points for the Dolphins.
Jay-La Guy and Margaret O’Malley-Rebovich led the team with .357 and .316 hitting, respectively. Guy paced the Dolphins with eight kills on 14 attacks while O’Malley-Rebovich manned the net and tallied five blocks (three solo). Cassidy Iannariello took care of the back line and led the Dolphins with 11 digs and four service aces.
After falling behind 3-1 in the open game of the match, the Dolphins dug in and went into win-mode as they went on a 12-2 run which demoralized the Bears. CSI would keep the Bears at bay for the remainder of the match, holding a 10-point lead and finishing with a 25-12 victory. As a team, the Bears struggled offensively, hitting just .071 while the Dolphins hit .273, their best of the match.
The Dolphins once again fell behind 3-1 in the start of the second game, however, they were not able to run away with this one like they were with the opening game. The Bears and Dolphins would go back-and-forth the entire game with either team getting no larger than a four-point lead. Staring the final point of the game in the face, the Dolphins allowed the Bears to go on a 3-0 run to take a 25-24 lead. A well-called timeout would lead to the Dolphins settling down and earning three straight points to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
The final game of the match saw the Dolphins jump out to a strong 7-1 lead. The Bears would rally back and take an 8-7 lead but that lead would quickly dimish as CSI took control. Castellano would record a kill then force a ball handling error during her serve before relinquishing serving duties to the Bears. CSI would cruise to a 25-19 victory and get revenge against the Bears after they fell to them 3-2 in last years meeting.
Match 2: Staten Island 3, Cairn University 1 (25-16, 25-21, 24-26, 25-13)
Castellano once again let her presence be felt. Castellano led the Dolphins with 14 kills on 29 attacks with no errors while hitting .483. Spears once again led the team with 25 assists and Celina Mendez paced the team with 15 digs. O’Malley-Rebovich will be a force to be reckoned with this season as she tallied another three assists bringing her total up to eight through two matches this season.
After dropping the opening point the Dolphins never trailed the rest of the game despite the Highlanders going on a 6-0 run midway through the game. Once again the opening stanza was the best for the Dolphins as they hit .400 as a squad while their opponents hit just .136.
Staten Island used a 7-0 run in the middle of the game to extend their 11-9 lead to 18-9 which was fueled by a pair of aces from O’Malley-Rebovich. The Highlanders would do their best to march back into the game but the Dolphins were able to keep them away to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
The third set looked like it was going to be a clean sweep for the Dolphins on the day, however, Cairn had other plans. Leading 17-12, the Dolphins saw the Highlanders inch their way closer and closer. Cairn used a 4-0 run and a pair of 2-0 runs to cut the lead down to one, before eventually taking a 24-23 lead. A service error nearly gave the Dolphins their sweep but a pair of errors by the Dolphins saw Cairn steal a game from the Dolphins.
After such a long battle in game three, the Dolphins made sure to put the Highlanders away quickly this game. CSI used a 6-0 run in the middle of the game followed by a 6-0 run at the end of the game to earn their first pair of victories to start the season since 2014.
The Dolphins will return to action on Tuesday, September 4 at The Tank at 7:00 pm when they host Rutgers-Newark.