Yeshiva Rallies to Win Historic Five-Set Skyline Thriller Over Purchase

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The Yeshiva University women's volleyball team rallied from two games down to win a five-set thriller over Purchase College, 3-2, at the ARC Arena on Tuesday evening. Set scores were 16-25, 21-25, 25-16, 25-13, and 15-13. This marks the first time in program history that the Maccabees won a match after dropping the first two sets. Yeshiva bumps its record to 1-4 overall and 1-3 in Skyline play.

"I am so proud of my team," Yeshiva head coach Dalliana Toussaint said. "We worked hard during practice and that helped the team get over the hump. They stepped up and brought it."

Leading the way for Yeshiva was junior middle blocker Abigail Epstein, who slammed home a team-high eight kills and had one block. Senior outside hitter Dalia Sieger anchored the defense by leading all players with 25 digs, to set a new career-high, and scored three service aces on offense. Senior setter Yael Ghelmanproduced a team-high 19 assists and neutralized the opposition's attack with 14 digs. She also added seven service aces which tied a match-high.

In the first game, Ghelman scored three service aces to propel Yeshiva to a 5-0 run, cutting Purchase's (0-2, 0-1 Skyline) lead to 17-15. The Panthers responded by scoring eight of the game's final nine points to win the first set, 25-16.

In game two, Ghelman once again scored an ace to pull YU to within one, at 13-12. However, Purchase would once again shift momentum into its favor by scoring five unanswered points to take control of the set. Senior setter Esther Alexander nailed an ace to begin a 3-1 run by the Maccabees to narrow the Panthers' lead to 24-21. However, it would not be enough as the visiting team scored the next point to win the second stanza and put Yeshiva on the brink.

Purchase got off to a strong start in the third set, taking an 8-4 advantage. However, Yeshiva's historic rally would begin. Senior outside hitter Emily Neckonoff's kill and service ace book-ended a 4-0 run by the Maccabees to tie the set, 9-9. Later in the stanza, YU rallied with an 8-0 run, highlighted by back-to-back service aces by Ghelman, to give YU a commanding 18-11 advantage.  After the Panthers scored three unanswered points, the Maccabees countered with a 6-0 run, capped off by back-to-back aces from senior outside hitter Ilana Leggiere to give YU a set-point opportunity. The third set concluded with Yeshiva being awarded a point due to a rotation error by Purchase, giving YU the win, 25-16.

Yeshiva carried its momentum into game four by scoring 12 unanswered points to take a 13-1 lead. Epstein and Alexander combine for five kills during YU's run. Later in the set, back-to-back service aces by Sieger extended the Maccabees' lead to 17-2. The Panthers slowly climbed back into the set, pulling to within 22-12. However, Yeshiva would not let Purchase's rally continue, as Sieger's service ace capped off a 3-1 run by Yeshiva to clinch the set and force a deciding game.

The Panthers jumped out to an 8-5 advantage in the fifth set. Alexander responded by scoring a kill to begin the momentum change for the Maccabees. After Yeshiva pulled to within 11-10, Leggiere slammed home a kill to tie the match. Ghelman once again scored a service ace to give Yeshiva its first lead of the set. After the Panthers regained the advantage, 13-12, Sieger produced a kill to deadlock the game at 13. Back-to-back bad sets by Purchase clinched the game and Yeshiva's first Skyline win of the season.

For the match, Leggiere added four kills, with three service aces, and two digs. Alexander slammed home three kills, chipped in with two assists, recorded five digs, and scored one ace. Sieger added two kills with three service aces.

Neckonoff had three kills, nine digs, and a service ace, while sophomore libero Sarah Leah Zians produced six digs. Senior outside hitter Batya Schreier recorded a kill, one service ace, a block, and a dig. Epstein added a block with two digs of her own. Senior libero Mellissa Stock produced a dig.  

Yeshiva will be back in action on Thursday, for a Skyline Conference match at Maritime College, beginning at 7:00 p.m.