Nov. 20, 2008

Courtesy of SUNY New Paltz Athletics

Bloomington, Ill. - The women's volleyball teams first ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament came to and end Thursday afternoon when they faced La Verne (26-2) in the Elite Eight and were eliminated by the Leopards 3-0 (25-15, 25-16, 25-16). The Hawks end their season with a 32-10 record, the highest win total in the history of the volleyball program.

Junior Brittany Coyle led the Hawks with eight kills and five blocks. Senior Samantha Prudent and first year Melinda DiGiovanna each finished with five kills as DiGiovanna added nine digs. Junior Stephanie Bova dished out 19 assists, seven digs and two aces, while senior Nicole Mercadante tallied eight digs.

"This was the most fantastic year I have had and I couldn't have asked for a better senior season. Making the Elite Eight was a testiment to the hard work of everyone on the team and New Paltz volleyball will keep rising to the top," stated Mercadante. ,

Reflecting back on the season Prudente said "I couldn't have asked for a better senior year. All of the hard work we put in paid off. I know that New Paltz volleyball has only scratched the surface of the NCAAs and I am so proud to be a part of it."

In the first set, La Verne cruised to the opening set victory, 25-15. New Paltz hit a combined .183 as a team, DiGiovanna swatted four kills, while Bova recorded seven assists in the Hawks’ effort.

The second set saw both squads within striking distance of each other through the first ten points, but the Leopards kicked it into high-gear and scored the next seven tallies, en route to a 25-16 win. Prudente tallied three kills and Kelsey Noble and Priska Wilson registered four digs each.

New Paltz entered the third set determined, matching La Verne point-for-point until about midway through the frame, with the Leopards clinging to a slim 15-14 lead. Coyle’s three kills and three blocks kept the New Paltz motor churning through the span, with Bova dishing out five assists and a block of her own to aid the cause. However, La Verne turned the heat up again, outscoring the Hawks by a 10-2 margin the rest of the way to gain the match-clinching 25-16 victory.

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