Garden City, N.Y. – After making history in the NCAA East Region semifinals with a defeat of top-seeded Adelphi, the NYIT volleyball program drew No. 2 University of Bridgeport for the program's first appearance in an East Region championship. After taking the first two sets over the Purple Knights, the Bears fought to a 28-26 final score for the third set to earn the title of East Region Champions. The team not only made history, but tied the program best 28-wins with the victory.
Karolina Moderova, Emily Mankowski and Kate Brock each reached double-digit kill numbers with 14, 13 and 10 respectively. The three attackers, along with Allison Fowler who paced the offense with 38 assists, all earned inclusion on the All-Tournament team, announced at the conclusion of the match.
Fowler capped the Bears opening 5-1 lead with a service ace; a four point cushion which the team maintained courtesy of a kill from Guida just three points later. The Purple Knights tried to generate momentum but a kill from Moderova at 12-10 kick started a seven point run that kept them fighting to cut the lead. Coach Mullin called a timeout when NYIT held another seven-point lead, which they closed out with a service ace from Syers and a kill from Brock.
NYIT doubled the Purple Knights points to lead 6-3 on a kill from Mankowski to start off the second set, but the higher seed came storming back to lock the game at 8-8, with help from two consecutive attack errors from the Bears. A five point run from the Purple Knights put the Blue and Gold back but four straight points bookmarked with an ace from Tina Stefanovic and a block from Guida and Fowler allowed the Bears to regain the lead at 19-18.
The teams found themselves tied three more times before a ball-handling error put the fourth-seed on top at 23-22 and they closed out the set on two smart shots from Moderova. Bridgeport commanded an early 4-1 lead to start the third set, however back-to-back errors from the Purple Knights handed the lead back to NYIT 6-5.
From then on the remainder of the set went back and forth with the Bears going up one point more than three times but the Purple and White managed to earn the side out and tie it up once more. Mankowski gave NYIT match point for the first time at 24-22, but Bridgeport's Kira Shapiro and Sarah Rosa each contributed kills to lock the match at 24 apiece. Moderova registered two kills in a row to have set and match point for the Blue and Gold, and an attack error from Frida Randen sealed the deal to hand the Bears the East Region title.
The team is bound for Tampa, Florida where they will take on No. 1 Palm Beach Atlantic (29-4) out of the South Region on Thursday, December 10 at the Bob Martinez Athletics Center.
Provided by the NYIT Sports Information Department.