NEC Tournament - Championship Recap
Robert Morris Defends NEC Women’s Volleyball Title
Colonials to advance to NCAA’s for second consecutive year
Hackensack, NJ -- The number two-seed Robert Morris Colonials (21-15) defended its title against the number one-seed UMBC (19-13) in a thrilling five-game Northeast Conference Women’s Volleyball Championship match (13-15, 15-7, 15-7, 7-15, 15-12) held in Fairleigh Dickinson’s Rothman Center. The Retrievers, which defeated the Colonials in the regular season, had come into the championship match with a 9-0 conference record and 11 match winning streak.
UMBC came on top after game one, which went point for point. Robert Morris ran off a 9-1 lead in game two, stealing momentum through game three to take a 2-1 advantage in the match. The Retrievers executed some key plays to come back and win game four. The Colonials began rally scoring in game five with four straight points and despite a hard-fought struggle, the Retrievers could not close the deficit.
Leading the way for the Colonials and earning NEC Tournament Most Valuable Player honors was senior outside hitter Maryann Liska (Ausable Forks, NY), with 21 kills on 59 attempts, in addition to 11 digs and two solo blocks. The second team All-NEC pick finished the tournament with 35 kills, a .301 hitting percentage, 25 digs and three blocks. Teammate and junior setter Michelle Barlett (La Grange, OH) registered 15 digs and 53 assists in the final match.
Posting big numbers on the Retriever side was first team All-NEC senior outside hitter Joanne Marshall (Huntingtown, MD), who tallied a team-high 18 kills and 24 digs. NEC Player of the Year Kara Welniak (Omaha, NE) finished the final match with 10 kills, 15 digs and five blocks.
Robert Morris earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships for the second straight year. The NCAA Selection Show is scheduled for Sunday, November 26 at 8:00 pm EST. The Colonials gave head coach Tim Horsmon his first 20-win season and set a school record for most wins in a season (21).
NEC Tournament - Semfinal Recaps
UMBC and Robert Morris Advance To Title Match
With Straight Game Semifinal Victories
Hackensack, NJ -- Second seeded Robert Morris advanced to its second straight NEC Tournament Championship game by defeating #3 seed, Central Connecticut State in three straight games at host Fairleigh Dickinson. With the win, Robert Morris faces the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) Retrievers which advanced to its second title game in three seasons. Top-seeded UMBC won in three straight games, beating #5 Quinnipiac, 15-11,15-8,15-4. The Braves had upended #4 seed St. Francis (PA ) in the first round on Saturday morning.
Robert Morris won, 15-11, 15-8, 15-11, as senior outside hitter Maryann Liska (Ausable Forks, N.Y.) led the Colonials with 14 kills and 14 digs, while classmate and first team All-NEC selection, Katie Noble (Mentor, Oh.) had 13 kills and 12 digs. The Lady Blue Devils were led by sophomore outside hitter Jessica Fernandez (Glendale Heights, Ill.) who had 11 kills and 18 digs. The Colonials gave head coach Tim Horsmon his first 20-win season and tied a school single-season record with the 1992 squad that finished the season with 20-victories.
The Retrievers went undefeated in NEC regular-season action this year and look to return to the NCAA Tournament after winning the 1998 NEC Tournament. NEC Player of the Year Kara Welniak (Omaha, Neb.) was limited to eight kills and six digs, while Dana Cookson (Gaithersburg, Md.) led the team with 14 kills. NEC Coach of the Year Felix Hou makes his first trip to the NEC Tournament championship.
The Retrievers and Colonials square off at 1:00 p.m. at the Rothman Center on the campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University in Hackensack, N.J.
NEC Tournament - 1st Round Recaps
#3 Central Connecticut State and #5 Quinnipiac Advance to NEC Women’s Volleyball Semifinals
Hackensack, NJ -- The Central Connecticut State Lady Blue Devils (12-18) overcame a seven-point deficit in game one to take the lead and the eventual win (17-15, 15-8, 15-9) against the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights (13-15) in the first quarterfinal match of the Northeast Conference Women’s Volleyball Championships, hosted by FDU. The second match of the opening round was also decided in three games as #5 seed Quinnipiac (10-18) defeated #4 seed St. Francis (PA) (11-25) by scores of 16-14, 15-10 and 15-13.
FDU opened an 11-4 lead in the first game, but the Lady Blue Devils rallied with five straight points to get within two and then took a one point lead, 14-13. FDU scored two points for a chance at game point, 15-14, but CCSU was able to come back and take the next three points and a 1-0 advantage in the match. The Knights looked poised for late rallies in both game two and three but were not able to take either game.
Three All-NEC Second Team members posted outstanding numbers in the first match of the tournament. The Lady Blue Devils were led by sophomore outside hitter Jackie Fernandez (Glendale Heights, IL) who tallied a match-high 15 kills and 25 digs in the three games, adding two service aces and two blocks. Teammate and junior middle hitter Sarah Haase (Galesburg, MI) also recorded 15 kills and two blocks. For the Knights, sophomore outside hitter Kim Payne (Chesapeake Beach, MD) had 10 kills and 15 digs.
St. Francis (PA) opened their match with an 9-3 lead in game one but Quinnipiac rallied to get within three, 11-14, and then scored five straight points to take the 1-0 match lead. The Braves continued their efficient hitting for a .306 percentage in game two and pushed through a late rally by the Red Flash in game three to advance to the semifinals.
For Quinnipiac, sophomore First Team All-NEC middle hitter Heather Wollyung (Lake Katrine, NY) posted 29 kills on 41 attempts for a .683 hitting percentage in the three-game match. She added two service aces and seven digs. Angela Pennella (Ringwood, NJ) added nine kills, eight digs and three blocks for the Braves. The Red Flash was also led by a First Team All-NEC pick—Tina Miller (Nazareth, PA)—who tallied team highs of 13 kills and 10 digs, adding two blocks.
Central Connecticut State advances to face #2 Robert Morris at 5:00 p.m. Quinnipiac advances to play #1 UMBC at 7:00 p.m.