Bridgeport, Conn. - Freshman outside hitter/middle blocker Danielle Valenza (Hauppauge, N.Y.) tallied a match-high 11 kills on a .360 hitting percentage Thursday to send the No. 6 seed LIU Post volleyball team to a 3-0 victory against third-seeded Stonehill in the quarterfinals of the 2014 NCAA Division II East Region Championship at Harvey Hubbell Gymnasium.
Sophomore middle/right-side hitter Analise Austin (Honolulu, Hawaii) accumulated nine digs, five kills and four aces in the win. Junior middle hitter Melissa Hansen (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and freshman middle blocker Heather Ball (Gilbert, Ariz.) had four kills apiece. The duo also combined for seven blocks. Senior middle blocker Heather Adams (Centerville, Ohio) pitched in seven kills.
In the setting department, senior Lulu Centro (Rome, Italy) and junior Monica Amador (Cedar Park, Texas) allocated 16, and 10 assists, respectively. Junior libero Rachel Ringor (Honolulu, Hawaii) racked up 15 digs and four service aces.
Trailing 5-4 early in the first set, the Pioneers (20-13) rattled off a 14-3 run to grab a commanding 18-8 advantage. Austin provided three kills in the spurt. Adams served eight straight points, one of which was an ace. LIU Post held a double-digit lead for much of the remainder of the game, and cruised to a 25-17 opening-set win.
The second game featured a tight battle between the two squads. In a set that showcased seven tied scores and four lead changes, the Pioneers and Skyhawks (21-8) were all even at 12-12, until the green and gold used a 9-3 burst to leap out to a 21-15 edge. Ball slammed down two kills in the run, while Austin got a kill and a service ace.
Stonehill fought back though, and closed the gap to 21-20, but LIU Post staved off the rally. The Pioneers scored four of the last six points of the set, led by two Valenza kills, to take it by a 25-22 count.
LIU Post opened the third set on an 8-3 run and never looked back. Centro and Ringor bookended the hot start with aces. Adams and Valenza each contributed a kill and a block.
The Skyhawks only came within four points (9-5) the rest of the way, as the green and gold eventually built a nine-point lead, behind a string of three kills from Valenza.
Head Coach Shellane Ogoshi and the Pioneers now await the winner of the quarterfinal match-up between No. 2 seed New Haven and No. 7 seed Saint Rose. LIU Post will face off with one of those teams in a NCAA Division II East Region semifinal tilt on Friday (Nov. 21) at 5 p.m. in Bridgeport.
Provided by the LIU Post Sports Information Department.