BENNINGTON, Vt. – Lesley University defeated the Southern Vermont College women's volleyball team Saturday night by a 3-1 margin in the final New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) match for both teams in the regular season.
The Lynx took the opening set 25-16 before SVC battled back for a 27-25 victory in the second frame. Not to be deterred, Lesley captured the next two games with scores of 25-17 and 25-21 for the win.
LU finishes the regular season with a 7-1 conference mark, 16-4 overall, a record worthy for the Lynx to take the No. 2 seed and a first round bye in next week's conference postseason tournament. The loss drops Southern Vermont to 7-14 overall and 3-5 against the NECC; the Mountaineers are in to the league playoffs as the sixth and final seed, playing at Newbury College on Tuesday in the first round.
SVC was led offensively by senior Jessica Delgado (Los Angeles, California) who tallied 12 kills, one shy of the match-best; in her final contest at the Mountaineer Athletic Center, she added 17 digs and a block assist. Classmate Alexandra Sinicropi (Fultonville, New York) followed with eight kills and seven digs while sophomore Brin Goldman (St. Croix, Virgin Islands) had a team-high 21 digs to go with her two blocks and seven kills.
Senior Marykay Pruckno (Rome, New York) had seven digs and a service ace for the Mountaineers, and junior Sheilani Kaleopa (Riverside, California) racked up 22 assists, 11 digs, five service aces and five kills in the effort.
Lynx freshman Ciara Bruning (Centerville, Massachusetts) notched a match-high 13 kills while adding 11 digs to her line. Junior Melissa Randall (Fremont, California) had the night-high in the digs column with 23 and pitched in with 10 kills. Senior captain Danielle Johnson (Waterford, Conn.) was right behind with 21 digs and 10 kills to go with three service aces while junior setter Emily Marden (Fremont, California) totaled 40 assists. Senior libero Danielle McDonald (Lilitz, Pa.) had 16 digs and three service aces in the win.
Lesley jumped out to a 12-5 lead early in the first set and would maintain separation from SVC the rest of the way to the 25-16 win.
The Mountaineers came out in the second frame fired up, taking a quick 5-2 edge. LU would get its share of points to stay within striking distance as the two sides traded scores through the remainder of the set. The Lynx never trailed by more than two the rest of the way and tied the game a handful of times, extending the stanza. With the score set at 25-25, however, Sinicropi and Delgado landed consecutive kills for the 27-25 match equalizer.
SVC carried its momentum into the third by going up 4-1, but Lesley stormed back with nine out of 10 straight points including seven consecutively for a 13-6 lead the Mountaineers would be unable to recover from. With the Lynx up 24-12, Southern Vermont rallied for five straight behind the service of sophomore Emily Lesure (Cheshire, Massachusetts), but LU finished it off with a Bruning kill to take the 2-1 match lead.
The fourth set saw Lesley take an early 12-5 advantage, but the Mountaineers would not go quietly as they won eight in a 10-point stretch to close it to 17-16 in favor of the visitors. Neither team won more than two straight through the rest of the match as the Lynx retained a slight advantage leading up to a match-ending service error by Southern Vermont.
Prior to the evening's contest, SVC celebrated Senior Night with thanks and recognition to the three senior Mountaineers: Delgado, Pruckno and Sinicropi.
The win is the first for Lesley over Southern Vermont since beating the Mountaineers in the 2010 NECC postseason, giving the Lynx a 5-3 all-time series lead.