Bridgeport, Conn. - The second-seeded LIU Post
volleyball team won its first-ever NCAA Division II East Region
Championship Saturday, besting No. 4 seeded New Haven, 3-0, at
Harvey Hubbell Gymnasium in Bridgeport, Conn.
The Pioneers now advance to the NCAA Division II National Championship, which begins Thursday (Dec. 12) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. They will take on West Texas A&M, the nation's South Central Region winner, at 1 p.m. The Aggies sport an overall record of 34-3, and defeated Angelo State, 3-1, to advance.
LIU Post (25-9) shut out each of its opponents (Franklin Pierce, NYIT and New Haven) in the East Regional. It is the first program since Dowling in 2010 to achieve such a feat.
In the opening set, the green and gold jumped out to a quick 8-1 lead, and soared to a 25-19 victory. Freshman outside hitter Shelby McCool (Eugene, Ore.) slammed down back-to-back kills to close it out. Senior middle blocker Makamae Namahoe (Hilo, Hawaii) opened the scoring with a service ace.
The second game saw the Pioneers hold an early 6-0 cushion. McCool sparked the hot start with a kill, while sophomore libero Rachel Ringor (Honolulu, Hawaii) served up an ace to wrap it up. But, the Chargers (28-5) answered with an 8-2 spurt to even the score. Meghan Kennelly (Macomb Township, Mich.) tied it with a kill.
From there, the two teams went back-and-forth, until UNH had set point (24-23). Yet, LIU Post kept the game alive with a Heather Adams (Centerville, Ohio) kill, forcing extra points. The Pioneers would eventually come away victorious, as a McCool ace, and a Kristen Lee (Colorado Springs, Colo.) attack error clinched a 27-25 win.
Deadlocked at 14-all in the third set, LIU Post tallied five unanswered points for a 19-14 lead, and never looked back, en route to capturing the title. Namahoe had a pair of kills in the run. Sophomore middle hitter Melissa Hansen (Colorado Springs, Colo.) added a kill, along with a block assist.
Up 24-18, with Ringor serving, and the Pioneers' sights set on traveling to Iowa, McCool found empty space, and got the kill to start the post-match celebration.
Namahoe led all players with 16 kills, off a .483 hitting clip. She also accumulated 10 digs for a double-double. Junior setter Lulu Centro (Rome, Italy) (36 assists, 10 digs) and McCool (11 kills, 10 digs) posted double-double performances as well. Adams chipped in eight kills, three assists, two digs, and a pair of blocks. Ringor totaled a match-best 16 digs.
Following the trophy presentation, the All-Tournament team was announced. McCool, Adams, Namahoe, Ringor, and senior middle hitter Susy Cricchi (Borgovelino, Rieti, Italy) were recognized from LIU Post.
For the updated NCAA Division II Volleyball Championship bracket, click here.
Provided by the LIU Post Sports Information Department.