Barry 3, Minnesota-Duluth 0

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MIAMI SHORES, Fla. #2 Barry advanced to the NCAA Division II Womens Volleyball Championship Game for fourth time in its history with a 30-18, 30-26, 30-28 victory over #5 Minnesota-Duluth in semifinal action Friday evening at Barrys Health & Sports Center.

The Buccaneers (33-1) will face #2 Truman, 3-0 winners over top-ranked Nebraska-Kearney, in tomorrows final at 7:00 p.m.

"I thought we were really sharp," said Barry head coach Dave Nichols. "Minnesota Duluth is an outstanding team, well coached, great athletes, and I think they have a lot of heart. I went in expecting a five game match.

"I thought we stepped up and played a solid match, and we did better at sustaining energy. We did a good job adjusting and we slowed them down."

Fernanda Brino led Barry with 11 kills on .400 hitting, to go along with six digs and three solo blocks. Kelly Dantas was right behind her with nine kills and four block assists. Karla Bersano pounded five aces and added three blocks while Sarah Alexander had a team-high 12 digs.

The Buccaneers play at the net proved to be a big factor, out-blocking the Bulldogs 11-2 for the match.

"They gave me more trouble than I expected," said UMD outside hitter Callie Zwettler, who was held to just eight kills after finishing with 22 in yesterdays quarterfinal. "They have a solid block and those five girls are hard to hit around. It seemed no matter where I was there was always four hands up there, they did a very good job."

UMD (27-5) received a match-high 16 digs from libero Allison Boddy, while Alicia Meger, Rachel Lanseth and Julie Lenci each had nine kills Megers on a match-high .500 clip. Gretta Iisakka dished out a match-high 36 assists to go along with seven digs.

It is clearly disappointing for us, just not a good performance tonight," said Bulldogs head coach Jim Boos. "As well as we had been playing for the last month we just didnt have it tonight. I give Barry credit, they had a great crowd and once they got momentum on their side they rolled with it and they played with a lot of confidence.

"When a confident team is playing well its really hard to get back into a match. We could never quite get over that hump. We would be up by a few but they always seemed to get back ahead."

Barry came out with a lot of intensity behind the support of its boisterous home crowd in game one, overwhelming the Bulldogs in a 30-18 win.

"They were helping to support us, which was very helpful," said Bersano about the home fans.

The Buccaneers won the first five points, and eight of the first 10 before UMD called a timeout to settle down. The Bulldogs answered by winning the next five points to pull to within one, but that was as close as they would get. Barry hit .367 in the game and held UMD to just .030, while Brino led the way offensively with six kills and no errors, good for a .545 clip.

UMD was the first to gain an advantage in game two, building a four-point lead at 14-10. The Buccaneers answered back, however, and grabbed a four-point lead of their own at 22-18. The teams sided out repeatedly the rest of the way before Barry won the last two points on kills by Samantha Tucillo and Dantas to win, 30-26. Dantas paced the Buccaneer attack with four kills while Alexander provided six digs. Rachel Langseth led the Bulldogs with a game-high five kills while Callie Zwettler had four kills and six digs.

Each team went on a series of scoring runs in game three, kicking off with a 4-0 run by Barry to start the game. UMD answered right back to tie the game at 4-4, and then grabbed a four-point lead of their own at 11-7. The Buccaneers came right back to tie the game at 11 apiece before the Bulldogs stormed back in front to grab their largest lead of the match at 18-13.

It wasnt long until Barry put themselves in the lead for good at 25-24 thanks to three-straight blocks en route to a 30-28 win. Iisakka directed the UMD offense with 15 assists, five of which going to Lenci, while Boddy helped the defensive effort which held the Buccaneers to just .111 hitting with six digs. Dantas paced Barry with four kills.

"Its hard to think about (having a great season) right now because our season is over," said Iisakka. "It was a great experience coming here and it was fun to be with my team one last time. We had such great team chemistry this year it was a lot of fun being here."

--Courtesy Barry