Oakdale, N.Y. - The Dowling College Golden Lions are East Coast Conference Tournament Champions after a 3-0 sweep over the University of Bridgeport Purple Knights. With set wins of 25-20, 25-20, and 27-25, DC won their second consecutive ECC Tournament and improve to 27-4 on the season. For their efforts, Bethany Shepard and Maja Potpara were named Co-Most Outstanding Players of the tournament.
In the opening set of the championship match, the Purple Knights jumped to an early four point lead (4-8), but with Morgan Mutranowski on the serving line, the Golden Lions put up five unanswered points to go ahead 9-8. A point for point battle would then follow and neither side would lead by more than two. Following a UB timeout, the Purple Knights reached within one (21-20) off a kill from Biljana Savic. The Golden Lions would respond and earn four straight points to take the set 25-20. Shepard, Cassy Kelly and Chelsea Callahan each led DC with 4 kills a piece and the Golden Lions posted five total team blocks to UB's one.
In yet another close game, the Golden Lions put up their best hitting percentage of the evening at .257. Shepard led all players in the set with eight kills and Potpara was 4 for 5, hitting .800 with 10 assists. Midway through, DC went ahead by three (13-10) and would maintain the lead throughout the set and Kelly's kills would close it out 25-20 and give Dowling a 2-0 match lead.
In the final set of the evening, extra points would be needed in determining a winning team. DC edged out the Purple Knights 27-25 to complete the sweep and earn the tournament win. After being tied at 16, UB took advantage of three DC hitting errors to take a slight lead. Dowling fought back and a UB error knotted the game at 23. Both sides would exchange points, but a kill from DC's Kelly and a Bridgeport attack error gave the Golden Lions the necessary two points to earn the win.
For Dowling, Shepard and Potpara earned double doubles with Shepard leading all players in kills with 19 and tallied 13 digs. Potpara posted 34 assits and 11 digs with six kills. Mutranowski scooped up a match leading 15 digs.
The Purple Knights were led by Savic with 18 kills and Tamara Leite with a match high of 37 assists.
The Golden Lions advance to the NCAA East Regional Tournament to begin this Thursday, November 17th at a time and place to be determined.
Provided by the Dowling Sports Information Department.
* Check out highlights and interviews from the Pack Network's broadcast of the game in the video above.