Amherst, N.Y. - The NYIT volleyball team returns to the East Coast Conference finals for the second consecutive season after picking up a 3-1 win over Bridgeport Friday afternoon. The Bears improve to 27-5 this year as the Purple Knights move to 14-13.
Highlights from Bridgeport vs. NYIT (25-23, 24-26, 25-23, 25-13)
- Karolina Moderova and Tiffany Verni led the offense in the victory, totaling 17 and 15 kills, respectively. Moderova completed the double-double with 13 digs, as she added two service aces.
- Pacing the offense was Allison Fowler with 38 assists in the win, who added five block assists and two service aces of the team's nine.
- The team collected 13.0 total blocks, with Megan Mannle topping all players with eight block assists at the net compared to the Purple Knights 4.0.
- The Bears defense held Bridgeport to a below .100 hitting percentage, but the visitors outdug the Bears 69 to 57.
The Purple Knights used a 7-3 run to pull away in the first set after being locked with the Bears at six all, forcing Head Coach Gail Wasmus to call a timeout. Six points from the Blue and Gold which included several errors from the No. 3 seed brought the score back to even ground at 15-15. Allison Fowler and Megan Mannle put up a block that stopped Sara Cruz at 21-18, but Bridgeport hung on to come within one. Bears had set point twice and captured the first set victory with another block, this time from Mannle and Paige Trakas.
The visitors rattled off six unanswered points to jump out to a 7-2 lead in the second set. They continued to press ahead until Portia McIntosh was on the serving line for NYIT, as her six consecutive serves put the higher seed back on top 12-11. The Bears found themselves down again, but battled back to be even at 24-24.
Starting the third set, momentum swung in favor of the Bears who led 8-2 with four kills from Verni. NYIT was able to maintain that lead, by as much as seven, when Mannle stopped Frida Randen at the net at 17-10. The Purple Knights didn't lay down however, and locked the game at 23-23. Courtesy of a service error from Bridgeport and block from Mannle/Verni, the Blue and Gold were able to take a 2-1 advantage in the match with a 25-23 victory.
NYIT used a 7-3 run in the middle of the fourth set to increase their advantage to seven after capitalizing on Purple Knight miscues at the net and the serving line. With that lead, the Bears never looked back allowing Bridgeport to earn just three more points as they registered eight to close out the set and match to advance to the finals.
The team returns to Lumsden Gymnasium on Saturday, November 19 as they take on the top-seed and hosts Daemen College at 5:00 p.m.
Provided by the NYIT Sports Information Department.