LIU Post Blanks Franklin Pierce in NCAA East Quarterfinal, 3-0

LIU Post Blanks Franklin Pierce in NCAA East Quarterfinal, 3-0

Bridgeport, Conn. - For the first time since 2006, the second-seeded LIU Post volleyball team won an NCAA Tournament match, beating No. 7 seeded Franklin Pierce, 3-0, on Thursday in an East Region quarterfinal contest at Harvey Hubbell Gymnasium in Bridgeport, Conn.

The victory advances the Pioneers (23-9) to Friday's East semifinal versus third-seeded NYIT. The meeting will be the fourth of the 2013 campaign between the two squads. LIU Post won the two regular-season tilts by 3-0 counts, but fell to the Bears in the East Coast Conference Championship in five sets.

Down 11-7 in the opening set, the green and gold went on a 7-1 run to grab a 14-12 lead. Junior middle blocker Heather Adams (Centerville, Ohio) sparked the streak with a kill. Sophomore libero Rachel Ringor (Honolulu, Hawaii) accounted for three of the last four points, all via service aces.

Franklin Pierce fired back with two straight points to even the game, but LIU Post pulled away in the end. A 6-1 spurt broke a 15-15 tie, and eventually sealed a 25-19 win for the Pioneers. Senior middle hitter Susy Cricchi (Borgovelino, Rieti, Italy) and freshman outside hitter Shelby McCool (Eugene, Ore.) had a kill apiece.

Trailing 23-21 in a second set that showcased 11 tied scores and six lead swaps, Adams exploded for a pair of kills to knot up the game. Following a subsequent timeout by the Ravens, McCool put home a kill to give the Pioneers set point. FPU's Syndi Schulz (Cypress, Texas) then committed an attack error to give LIU Post the 25-23 triumph.

During the third set, the Pioneers jumped out to a commanding 15-5 edge, forcing the Ravens (14-9) to call both of their timeouts in that stretch. Sophomore middle hitter Melissa Hansen (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Adams, and Cricchi slammed down three kills apiece to pace the offense in the run.

LIU Post would open up as much as a 12-point advantage (18-6), before Franklin Pierce closed the gap to as few as six (21-15), via an 8-2 burst. However, a strategically well-placed timeout by Pioneers' head coach Shellane Ogoshi swung the momentum back in the green and gold's favor, and led to a 25-18 victory.

McCool and Cricchi finished with 12 kills each. Cricchi also hit at a team-leading .312 clip. Adams amassed 10 kills, off a .304 attack percentage, six digs and four blocks. Hansen and Namahoe both recorded four kills. Namahoe collected 19 digs as well. Junior setter Lulu Centro (Rome, Italy) picked up a double-double (35 assists, 12 digs).

The Pioneers are back in action Friday (Dec. 6) in an NCAA East Region Championship semifinal against No. 3 seed NYIT in Bridgeport, Conn. First serve is scheduled for 5 p.m.

Provided by the LIU Post Sports Information Department.