Nov. 22, 2008

 

Courtesy of New Haven

WEST HAVEN, Conn. - The University of New Haven women's volleyball team is headed to the 2008 NCAA Division II Women's Volleyball Elite Eight after a five-set (22-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-13, 15-12) victory over the second seeded Dowling College Golden Lions. The Chargers improve to 31-3 overall, while the Golden Lions conclude their season with a record of 34-7.

New Haven opened the first set with three straight points before Dowling scored four of the next five points to tie the set at 4-4. Neither team could take much of an advantage until the Golden Lions rattled off four straight points to take a 24-19 lead. New Haven rallied for three straight points before a Dowling kill gave them the first set.

The second set was full of runs with the Chargers and Golden Lions each tallying four straight points early. With the set tied at 19-19, the teams exchanged points until 22-22. New Haven took three of the next four points, highlighted by a block assist from Elizabeth Akinbiyi and Brittani Cotton and a kill by Sara Malmlov to even the match.

Momentum shifted back to Dowling in the third set as they scored six of seven points after the set was tied 12-12 to take a 18-13 lead. New Haven closed the gap to four at 23-19 but could not get any closer as a Dowling kill sealed the third set for the Golden Lions.

Set four started with Dowling taking the early lead before New Haven rallied to tie the game at 9-9. After exchanging points, the Chargers scored 10 straight points behind the serving of Malmlov to put New Haven up 20-10. After three Dowling points, the Chargers took the next five and the set on a kill by Rhe-Ann Niles.

The deciding set was close the entire way. With the score 9-8 in favor of New Haven, Dowling scored three points to put them up 11-9. New Haven responded with five straight points behind the serving of Katrina Ali to put them up 14-11. After a Dowling timeout, the Golden Lions got a kill to close the gap to 14-12. On the point, the Chargers Yael Rosner set up Niles in the middle as they had all match, and Niles' kill sent Charger Gymnasium into a frenzy and the Chargers to the Elite Eight.

New Haven, who out-hit Dowling .275 to .132, was led by Charisse Cotton (17 kills, three digs), Brittani Cotton (15 kills, 24 digs, two total blocks) and Niles (15 kills, six total blocks). Rosner dished out 51 assists to go with seven kills, while libero Katrina Ali tallied 19 digs.

The Chargers advance and take on the Golden Bears of Concordia University, St. Paul on Thursday, December 4. Game time and place are still to be determined. The official announcement of place and time will come late Sunday evening or early Monday morning.