BOSTON, Mass. – The Wentworth Institute of Technology women's volleyball program claimed its first Commonwealth Coast Conference Championship in program history with a 3-0 win over Roger Williams University Saturday afternoon inside Tansey Gymnasium.
The Leopards keep rolling on their historic season, earning their second win this year over the seven-time CCC champion Hawks, while improving to 25-4, which ties the program record for most wins in a season.
The historic outcome gives the Leopards an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament which begins on Friday, November 9th. The NCAA selection show is set for Monday, November 5that 12:30 and can be viewed live at NCAA.org.
The Hawks used two kills from Lara LoIacono (Lynbrook, N.Y.) and a block from Maddie Neuberger (Remsenburg, N.Y.) and Katherine Pickard (St. Petersburg, Fla.) to open the match for an early 6-3 lead. The Hawks kept the slight advantage before a kill by junior Samantha Lassiter (Rogers, Ark.) tied the match at eight apiece. A kill by Mary Zlotosch (Durham, N.H.) helped give the Leopards their first lead of the set, while a service ace by Katie Clouse (Hudson Falls, N.Y.) extended Wentworth's lead to three (11-8), before a misplayed ball by RWU put the Hawks in a 9-13 hole, forcing the team to call a timeout.
Wentworth maintained control for the next few points, while a Zlotosch ace built an 18-13 Leopard lead, causing the Hawks to call its second timeout. After the break, RWU would score the next three points, leading Wentworth to call a timeout of its own. Pickard helped bring the Hawks back within one with a service ace (18-19) but the deficit kept hovering between one and two points. Wentworth would not relinquish the advantage, as junior Leah Rogoz (Woodridge, Ill.) punctuated the opening set win with a service ace for the 25-20 victory.
A kill for Wentworth's Lassiter began the second set in the Leopards' favor before Molly Quilty (Duxbury, Mass.) tied things up with a kill just inside the back line. However, Wentworth quickly extended the lead to three (4-1) and continued to hold RWU at arm's length. Zlotosch dropped in a kill while a Hawk attack error gave the Leopards their largest lead of the set, an 11-6 advantage leading to an RWU timeout. Rogoz later served up back-to-back aces to put Wentworth up 16-7. RWU trailed 18-7 but managed to come away with five straight points, capped off by a block by LoIacono and Neuberger to pull within five (13-18) and force a Leopard timeout. The Hawks then scored three more points to make it a 15-18 game, but the Leopards used a 6-2 run for a comfortable 23-17 cushion. After an RWU attack error gave Wentworth match-point, Claire Quick (Mission Viejo, Calif.) put the set away with a service ace in between two static Hawks for the 25-18 win.
A kill by Zlotosch and a little miscommunication off of a serve quickly gave Wentworth a 2-0 lead in the third set, before a double touch by the Hawks later put Wentworth up 5-1. Roger Williams would rally, with Pickard bringing RWU within one (7-6) and Neuberger serving up an ace to tie things up at eight apiece. The two sides traded points back and forth with Wentworth holding on to a slight 1-2 point edge, but a furious rally spurred by clutch defense by the Leopards ended with a double touch by the Hawks, giving Wentworth a 16-13 lead and causing RWU to call timeout. The Leopards came out of the break hot, with three straight points for a 19-13 lead. Quilty managed to help stop a Leopard run with a kill to make it 16-23, with RWU scoring two more points to pull within five. However, Wentworth pulled off the championship point when Quick got the match-winning kill for a 25-19 win.
Rogoz led Wentworth with a match-high 16 kills to go along with eight digs, while hitting a scoring .696 with zero errors on 23 swings. Lassiter followed with another .500 hitting performance with seven kills and a single error on 12 attempts, while Quick added 11 kills and 12 digs. Clouse and Maddy Tomastik (Portland, Ore.) handed out 21 and 13 assists, respectively, while Wentworth's stellar defense was led by junior libero Lexie Cambray's (Bedford, N.H.) 15-dig performance.
Pickard led Roger Williams with seven kills and four block assists, with Grace Kenningham (Houston, Texas) adding six kills and two block assists. Julia Fields (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) notched 21 assists and 13 digs, with Neuberger going for three kills, four block assists, and two service aces.