|Manhattan Tops Niagara For Fifth Straight Win|
RIVERDALE, N.Y. - Coming into this season, Mark Jones had beaten every team in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) during his tenure as head coach of the Manhattan College volleyball team except for one-three-time defending MAAC champion Niagara. That all changed on Saturday afternoon, as the Jaspers (9-8, 4-2 MAAC) snapped a six-match losing streak against the Purple Eagles (6-9, 3-2 MAAC) with a 25-15, 18-25, 25-22, 25-17 triumph at Draddy Gymnasium. It was Manhattan's fifth straight victory, and the Jaspers' first win over Niagara since Nov. 8, 2008.
"It's so exciting. We've beaten everybody in this conference, and the only team we hadn't beaten is Niagara," Jones said. "We knew that if we worked hard, it was going to happen at home. And we've been playing some good volleyball lately."
"It feels awesome, especially for the seniors," Mariana Furquim said. "It was a group effort. Everyone was so excited and played together."
With the first set knotted at 2-2, the Jaspers used an 8-1 run to seize control. Manhattan took a 10-3 lead on a Furquim service ace, prompting a Niagara timeout. Niagara responded with four of the next six points to pull within 12-7 before the Jaspers countered with a 6-1 run of their own and increased their cushion to 18-8 on an Alexa Lampasona (Remsenburg, N.Y.) block. The Purple Eagles got back within eight at 21-13, but would get no closer. Malia McGuinness (Kailua, Hawaii) slammed a pair of kills to end the set and give Manhattan a 25-15 win.
The Jaspers continued their solid hitting in the second set, jumping out to an 8-1 lead. However, Niagara scored nine of the next 10 points and evened it at 10-10 on an ace by Taylor Scully. With the score knotted at 14-14, a kill by Ellen Senf, followed by back-to-back Kari Honomichl aces put the Purple Eagles in front for good. Niagara won 11 of the final 15 points to take the set, 25-18. Niagara's serving was the difference in the second set, as the Purple Eagles had seven aces in the frame.
Manhattan took an early lead again in the third set, as Furquim slammed three straight kills to put the Jaspers in front 4-1. Niagara rallied to take a 9-8 lead before Sydney Volovski (Oswego, Ill.) slammed a kill to start a 6-0 Manhattan rally that gave the Jaspers a 14-9 cushion. After the Purple Eagles won the next two points, Furquim pounded four consecutive kills, then Juliana Behrens (Honolulu, Hawaii) added another to increase Manhattan's advantage to 19-11. The Purple Eagles used an 8-2 run to get back within two at 21-19, but Lampasona responded with a kill to bring the margin back to three points. The Jaspers finished off the set, 25-22, on Furquim's 11th kill of the stanza. Manhattan scored 21 of its 25 third-set points via the kill and hit .364 (five errors, 44 attempts) in the third.
After the sides traded points early in the fourth set, a Behrens kill started an 8-2 Manhattan run that gave the Jaspers a 10-4 advantage. Niagara pulled within 13-11 before Behrens pounded another kill to ignite a 10-4 Jaspers run, which was capped by a Julie Bies (Massapequa, N.Y.) ace that brought Manhattan two points away from victory at 23-15. The Jaspers reached match point on a Behrens kill, and won the set by a 25-17 margin to earn their first victory over the Purple Eagles in four years. Manhattan hit .419 (17-4-31) in the fourth set.
Four Jaspers reached double-figures in kills, led by 18 from Furquim. She hit .485 in the match, committing just two errors in 33 swings, and added 12 digs to complete a double-double. McGuinness also had a double-double with 12 kills and 11 digs, while Jamie Collareta (Islip Terrace, N.Y.) finished with 50 assists, 11 digs and two aces. Volovski pounded 15 kills on .355 hitting, and Behrens hit .458 in the match, slamming 14 kills with three errors in 24 attempts. Kelsey Huntoon (Monroe, Mich.) recorded a match-high 28 digs, as the Jaspers outdug the Purple Eagles 82-60. Bies contributed 16 digs and two aces. Manhattan held a 64-44 advantage in kills and hit .293 (18 errors, 157 attempts) as a team.
Honomichl led the way for Niagara with 11 kills and 11 digs to go along with four aces. Senf and Amanda Sedore each added 10 kills for the Purple Eagles, while Michelle James just missed a double-double with 36 assists and nine digs. Allison Reis tallied a team-high 18 digs and Taylor Edmonds notched three blocks for Niagara. As a team, the Purple Eagles hit .209 (44-13-148) in the match.Manhattan concludes its six-match homestand with a 2 p.m. matchup against first-place Canisius (8-7, 5-0 MAAC). The Griffs knocked off Saint Peter's in three sets on Saturday to remain undefeated in MAAC play.