Bridgeport, Conn. - The NYIT volleyball program will return to the East Coast Conference finals after a 3-1 victory over Dowling College Friday evening in the semifinals. The Bears (25-6), who won the first set then dropped the second to the Golden Lions (25-7), won the next two to earn a spot in the ECC finals, slated for Saturday evening.
Leading the offense in the semifinal victory was First Team All-Conference selection Karolina Mloderoa with 15 kills and Second Team honoree Emily Mankowski with 12 kills. The two combined for 15 digs while Becky Syers anchored the defense with 16 digs. Three other players reached double-digit digs with Portia McIntosh chipping in 16 as well as Moderova collected 12 and Tina Stefanovic contributed 10. ECC Setter of the Year, Allison Fowler, paced the offense with 40 assists and was responsible for 10 digs in the 3-1 victory.
NYIT found themselves trailing by two early in the first set but rattled off six unanswered points to take a 10-6 lead. A Dowling timeout gave the Golden Lions the next two points, but the Bears kept pressing their offense to eventually jump out to a 17-12 advantage. Stefanovice registered a kill to make it 18-16 to keep the Bears in the lead with a five point run. The lead was just enough to hold off Dowling who was unable to cut the deficit to within three as NYIT took a 25-21 first set decision.
A five point run to start the second set gave the Golden Lions the lead, forcing ECC Coach of the Year Gail Wasmus to call a timeout and regroup her squad. From there, the Bears came within one of Dowling but several kills coupled with attack errors put them in a hole. A kill from Moderova brought the team within two at 17-19 but the Lions kept running and took the second set 25-19 to tie the match at one apiece.
Momentum swung in favor of NYIT to start the third set. Jumping them out to a 10-4 lead, bookmarked with kills from Rachel Guida and Stefanovic, forced Dowling into a timeout. Guida and Moderova together, at 15-9, stopped Jessica Kalbfleisch of the Dowling attack and continued to hold the upper hand, taking advantage of Dowling miscues and setting the scoreboard to 19-10. The Bears allowed Dowling to score just three more points and closed out the set win with back-to-back blocks which accounted for just two of their 15 total team blocks.
The teams traded points to open the fourth and final set, tying three times before being locked at 10-10, but kills from Moderova allowed NYIT to take a 14-10 lead. Stefanovic registered a kill and a service ace to maintain the Bear lead while Moderova accounted for four kills in the Bear's last seven points. The victory sets the stage for an ECC showdown against Bridgeport at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 21.
Provided by the NYIT Sports Information Department.