Amherst, N.Y. - The NYIT volleyball program won their first East Coast Conference contest since 1990, after defeating the Daemen College Wildcats in four sets in Lumsden Gymnasium Saturday evening. Junior Allison Fowler was named ECC Tournament MVP along with her Setter of the Year accolades at the banquet early Friday. This is the first ECC title under the direction of Head Coach Gail Wasmus.
Highlights from NYIT vs. Daemen (25-23, 25-21)
• Tiffany Verni and Karolina Moderova led the offense with 14 and 13 kills, respectively, combining for 11 digs and four block assists.
• Pacing the offense was Fowler who finished with 35 assists, 18 digs and five block assists.
• Rachel Guida, who collected eight kills, led the team with nine block assists and one solo to contribute to 16.0 total team blocks in the victory.
• The defense held Daemen attackers to a .117 hitting percentage and the hosts held the upper advantage in nearly all categories except blocking.
• Defensively, NYIT was led by libero Chessie Santeramo, who finished the contest with 30 digs.
The Bears crept back from a five-point deficit in the opening set and with a wide open net Rachel Guida was able to slam down a kill to knot the game at 13-13. Five of the Bears opening 15 points were obtained courtesy of service errors from the home team, and the Blue and Gold helped themselves with a Fowler service ace to lock the game at 18-18. Verni put a good swing on two of her last three attempts in the closing points, forcing Daemen to call a timeout. Moderova capped the set with a kill of her own to push NYIT ahead 1-0 in the match.
Much like the first set, the hosting Wildcats were able to push out to a 3-0 advantage and maintain that until a 4-1 run in favor of the Bears put them even at 7-7. NYIT capitalized on several miscues from the Daemen offense and at the service line to lead 21-18. Guida and Verni stopped Megan Ballou on set point to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Tables reversed as the third set opened, this time with the Blue and Gold used three blocks at the net to move out to an 9-5 lead. The top-seed used four consecutive kills and a block to make it 10 all, but back-to-back blocks from the Bears defense pushed them ahead by two. They led by as much as four but a 5-1 run brought the game to another tie, this time at 18 all.
The Wildcats came out of the time out with a service ace from Amber Dryzmala but another attack error brought the teams back to an even score. Three unanswered points from the home team with Christina Apostol made Head Coach Gail Wasmus call a timeout. The Dryzmala sisters collected the final two kills of the match to force a fourth set in Lumsden Gymnasium.
After Daemen College earned the first point of the fourth set, NYIT came back with a combination of two service aces and attack errors from the hosts to take a 7-1 lead. The Wildcats came back with vengeance, making it even ground at 9-9, but the Bears were able to stay in command with timely kills and blocks at the net.
Guida sent home a kill at 17-16 which jump started an 6-1 run for the second-seeded Bears, which featured two blocks from Guida and Moderova. The Wildcats didn't give up without a fight as they rattled off three straight points, to come within three, but two consecutive kills from Moderova ended the contest with the advantage in favor of NYIT.
The Bears will await their fate in the NCAA Tournament after the selection show scheduled for Monday, November 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Provided by the NYIT Sports Information Department.