HOBOKEN, N.J. -- Tim Ferriter notched 20 kills to lead No. 1 Stevens Institute to the NCAA Division Championship Match in a 3-2 thriller against SUNY New Paltz in the semifinals on Saturday.
The Ducks are 30-4, and are one victory away from the first team championship in school history. New Paltz fell to 27-6 on the season; three of the six defeats were courtesy of Stevens.Stevens wasted no time in jumping out to an opening set 11-2 lead thanks to five Hawk attack errors and a trio of service aces by Daniel Smith. However, New Paltz did rally to trim the deficit to three thanks to a 4-0 run, with Anthony Bonilla tallying a kill and Christopher Husmann serving up a pair of aces, forcing Stevens into a timeout. Three points would be as close as New Paltz would get as a Ferriter kill handed the Ducks a convincing 25-18 victory.
Stevens used a 4-0 to jump in front of New Paltz in set two with Ferriter chipping in a kill and a pair of double blocks against his former team. The Hawks then took an 8-5 edge with a 5-0 run, with Christian Smith, Andy Fishman and Husmann recording kills. The Ducks retook the lead with a huge double block by Jordan Stuart and John Eddins, but two unforced errors and a kill by Husmann handed the lead back to the Hawks. A 3-1 run by the Ducks put them in front 23-22, but eventually a double block by Smith and Woessner on set point gave the Hawks a 25-23 victory.
A trio of kills opened the third period for the Ducks, but New Paltz quickly erased the deficit with a 5-0 run, capped off by an ace from Bonilla, forcing Stevens into a timeout. A mid-match 5-0 run gave the Ducks a 17-15 lead, finished off with an ace from Ryan Seifert. A tight set throughout, it was knotted up at 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23 before a kill by Seifert and a double-block on a Bonilla attempt by Etan Bennett and Eddins gave the Ducks a 25-23 victory.
The fourth stanza saw neither side able to take a stronghold on the set, with no lead exceeding two points, but a 4-0 New Paltz run gave it a 13-9 lead they did not relinquish the remainder of the period. Stevens hung around, and after a Seifert ace, put the Ducks behind by only two points. New Paltz used a kill from John Lutjen and a Seifert attack error to take the fourth stanza 25-21 and force the pivotal fifth set.
In the fifth and final set, Stevens inserted Chris Vaughan into the match as a libero, and that change helped swing the momentum. An early 4-1 run by the Ducks forced New Paltz into taking a timeout, and that helped cut the deficit down to one thanks to a Bennett attack error. The Hawks knotted the period at eight thanks to a kill from Woessner, but a 4-0 rally put the Hawks on edge. A 3-0 counter brought the Hawks to within one, but a Lutjen service error put Stevens two points away from victory. A Bonilla service error forced the Hawks into match point, but they recorded a side-out thanks to a kill from Christian Smith. Once again, the former Hawk Ferriter came to haunt his former team, as he delivered a cross-court kill that stayed inbounds, setting the raucous cheering section into frenzy.