Amherst, N.Y. - With a four-set victory in the NCAA Division II East Region first round, Head CoachGail Wasmus earned her 600th career victory at NYIT Thursday afternoon. The win also sets a new program record for single season victories as the Bears improve to 29-5 this season. The Panthers conclude the 2016 campaign at 20-13 after making their tenth consecutive appearance in the NCAAtournament.
Under the direction of Wasmus, the program has posted 15, 20-plus win seasons in 41 years of existence and the head coach posts a 600-400 career record. At the start of this season she was the 11th most winningest coach (by victories) across NCAA Division II.
Leading the offense in the victory was Rachel Guida, who topped all players in the match with 15 kills with a .560 hitting percentage after committing just one error. Her five block assists and one solo contributed to the team's 8.0 total blocks, an advantage held over Adelphi who put up only 4.0 team blocks. Also in double-figures was Tiffany Verni and Karolina Moderova who chipped in 11 and 10, respectively, combining for 17 digs. Allison Fowler was able to control the offense, finishing with36 assists in the four set win while also adding 15 digs of her own.
NYIT jumped out to an early lead, with the help of a Fowler service ace at 12-7 that forced the eighth-seeded Panthers to call a timeout. Four straight serves from Moderova helped the Blue and Gold stretch their lead, but nine straight points from Adelphi allowed them to lock the game at 17-17 with Melissa Rigo at the service line. A kill from Paige Trakas and solo block from Guida swung momentum back in favor of NYIT. The Bears closed out the first, capitalizing on service errors from the other side, capped with a kill from Fowler.
The top seed was once again able to jump out to a four-point advantage this time on a Moderovakill. Several errors from the Bears however, sent Rigo back to the line which helped the Panthers even the score at 11 all. Several bursts of points from either side kept it close throughout the remainder of the set until Adelphi was able to push away with the lead-Rigo registered the last four kills for the Brown and Gold to even the match.
A similar series of events found the Blue and Gold up with a six-point advantage in the third behind services aces coupled with kills from Moderova and Guida. Bears used a 10-4 run to leave the Panthers trailing by eight, but they found a way to come back within three. NYIT was able to hold on to pull out a 25-20 set victory to improve to 2-1 in the match.
Mannle and Trakas connected on a block to stop an AU run to start the fourth set and were able to creep back in with contributions at the net that stopped the Panther offense. The middle of the set featured five lead changes and six ties as the pair of Long Island teams went back-and-forth. The Panthers committed three straight errors down the stretch which completed the match as the Bears took a 25-20 decision in the finale.
NYIT heads to the East Region semifinal for the fourth time and will face off with No. 4 American International College at 5:00 p.m. in Lumsden Gymnasium. The Yellow Jackets dropped a 3-0 match to NYIT in the opening weekend of the season.
Provided by the NYIT Sports Information Department.