FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 15, 2014
WEST HAVEN, Conn. - For the second straight night, the Adelphi University women's volleyball team stared down multiple match points in a Northeast-10 Conference Tournament match, and for the second straight night, the Panthers rallied to win.
HIGHLIGHTS: (Courtesy of Adelphi and New Haven)
On Saturday afternoon at Charger Gymnasium on the campus of the University of New Haven, the #4 seeded Panthers downed the #3 seeded Bentley University Falcons, 3-2 (23-25, 25-10, 25-18, 15-25, 17-15) to claim the program's second NE-10 Championship title and earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II Volleyball Championship.
The Panthers previously won the conference tournament crown in 2011.
A balanced attack was the key to Adelphi's (16-14) success, as Haley Blunt, Kaitlyn DeStefano and Mandy Stanislovaitis all tallied double digits in kills. Blunt led the way with 18, while DeStefano and Stanislovaitis each posted 12.
Freshman setter Megan Manierski ran the Panther offense to the tune of 47 assists, and posted five kills of her own. On the defensive end, Sierra Crook dug up 26 balls to lead all players while Blunt racked up 25 and Stanislovaitis also added 15. DeStefano and Samantha Breidenbach each blocked back seven Bentley offerings, while Shelby Stoner had a hand in four.
Bentley (18-11) was led by a 14-kill performance from Tatiana Froehlich and 10 kills from Savannah Dominguez, who hit .333 off the bench.
The Falcons jumped out to an early 7-3 lead in the first set as Froehlich put down three straight kills over that span. The Panthers rallied to tie the score twice, and eventually moved ahead for the first time since 2-0 at 11-10 on a Manierski ace.
The Brown and Gold remained ahead for the majority of the set, before Bentley knotted the action at 18-18 by blocking back a DeStefano attempt. The set featured two more ties, but the Falcons pushed ahead 24-21 behind a pair of Jaci Buscher kills, and wrapped up the set 25-23 on the strength of a kill from Jessica Segal.
The second set was all Adelphi after trailing briefly at 4-5. An eight-point streak, kicked off by a Blunt kill and ended by a Blunt ace, saw the Brown and Gold take full command at 14-6. The Panthers hit .360 as a team in the second set, and wrapped up a 25-10 win by scoring eight of the last nine points.
With the match even at 1-1, Adelphi took a 12-7 lead in the third frame behind consecutive kills from Blunt and DeStefano. In near-identical fashion to the first, the Falcons rallied to tie at the midway point and evened the score at 16-16 behind a Froehlich kill and a Shannon Kelly service ace.
This time, however, it was Adelphi that went off on a late four-point run and Blunt and DeStefano again went back-to-back to put Adelphi in front, 20-16. The last four points also went in Adelphi's favor, and the Panthers pocketed a 25-18 set when DeStefano and Manierski denied a Kaleigh Sullivan attempt.
The Brown and Gold took an early 6-2 lead in the fourth frame, but with their NE-10 season on the line, the Falcons quickly rallied to draw level. Two Panther miscues and a Froehlich hammer lengthened the Falcons' lead to 11-8 and forced Adelphi to take a timeout.
That did little to stop Bentley's momentum, and the Blue and White took their largest lead of nine, 19-10, behind another Froehlich kill. They wrapped up the set a short while later, and ensured that the NE-10 title would be decided in a winner-take-all fifth set for the second year in a row.
Adelphi started off the stronger of the two in the final set, taking leads of 4-1 and 6-3 before the Falcons battled back to tie things at 7-7 and 8-8. The Panthers seemingly claimed momentum from there, as Manierski, Stoner and Stanslovaitis all recorded kills to push Adelphi's lead at 12-8 and put the Brown and Gold three points away from the win.
The Falcons had other ideas, taking six of the next seven points to put themselves on the brink of the program's ninth NE-10 title.
Out of a Panther timeout, Stanislovaitis hammered home a kill to tie things, but handed the advantage back to Bentley with her own service error. It was Blunt's turn to play hero for the Panthers, as she put down her 17th and 18th kills to give Adelphi championship point.
With Crook serving, Buscher's final attack attempt sailed long to hand Adelphi the set, match and championship.
Assured of a spot in the NCAA East Regional, the Panthers will wait to see where they land in the bracket during the NCAA Division II Volleyball Selection Show, which will air live on ncaa.com on Sunday, November 16 at 10 p.m.
Northeast-10 Volleyball All-Championship Team
Haley Blunt, Adelphi
Kaitlyn DeStefano, Adelphi*
Lauren Colasanti, Bentley
Kristy Atufunwa, New Haven
Delia Phillips, Stonehill
* Most Outstanding Player
Reporting for this release provided by the Adelphi Athletics Communications staff
The Northeast-10 Conference is an association of 15 NCAA Division II colleges and universities located in New England and New York that is committed to supporting balanced academic and athletic opportunities for more than 6,000 student-athletes.
Each year, 4,000 of those student-athletes compete in conference championships in 23 sports, making the NE-10 the largest DII conference in the country in terms of sport sponsorship. Leading the way in the classroom, on the field and within the community, the Northeast-10 is proud of its comprehensive program and the experience it provides student-athletes.
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