WORCESTER, Mass. – For the first time ever, the Worcester State University women's volleyball team has been crowned the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) tournament champions as the first seeded Lancers downed the fifth seeded Bridgewater State Bears by a score of 3-0 in the semifinal round, and then defeated the Framingham State Rams by a score of 3-1 in the championship round. Worcester State's Allie Nolan (Melrose, Mass.) was named the tournament MVP.
MASCAC Semifinal/Championship Rounds
November 4, 2017
#1 Worcester State (26-8)
#2 Framingham State (15-18)
#3 Westfield State (13-16)
#5 Bridgewater State (8-22)
SEMIFINAL: Worcester State 3, Bridgewater State 0
The first seeded Worcester State University Lancers posted a 3-0 (25-17, 25-10, 25-17) win over the fifth seeded Bears of Bridgewater State in the first MASCAC semifinal game of the afternoon. The fans brought a different element to the matchup as they erupted after every kills, provoking a fire that was visibly different than regular season play.
Following back-to-back kills from Bridgewater's Kayla Baril (Seekok, Mass.) to put the Bears ahead, Worcester State's Nolan achieved a season milestone, as she earned her 1,000th assist. The game then saw ties at 3-3 and 4-4 before Bridgewater State pulled away on kills from Baril and Sarah Gibbons (Quincy, Mass.). The Bears held the lead until Nolan setup Amari King (Lawrence, Mass.) for an 8-8 tie score. From then on, Worcester State held a slim lead and extended it to six with Lauren Murphy (Taunton, Mass.) and Katrina Kangwijaya (Dunstable, Mass.) at the service. The Lancers closed out the set with consecutive kills from Murphy for the 25-17 set one score.
Worcester State showed no mercy in the second set as they tallied four points on kills from Emily Carens (Northborough, Mass.) and Stephanie Chapin (Hampden, Mass.) before Bridgewater scored a point on a Worcester attack error. The Lancers then went on a 9-0 run with Kangwijaya at the service to push ahead by 12. The Blue and Gold maintained their lead and even extended the lead to close out the second set ahead 25-10. Worcester State favored 14-6 kills over the bears to take the big 25-10 win.
The Lancers used their momentum from the first two sets to get a quick lead in the third set and force the Bears a timeout, with a 7-2 score. The Bears closed the gap to three over a period of time, however, Worcester State jumped ahead with four consecutive points to cause another timeout (17-10). The Lancers kept the lead and ended the game with a bad set from Bridgewater.
- King mastered a double-double of 11 kills and 15 digs with two assists in the win.
- Carens also reached double figures in the kills category as she posted a game-high 13 with another game-high .480 hitting percentage.
- Nolan tallied 39 assists in the win.
- On the defensive end for the Lancers, King led with the 15 digs, while libero Megan Leavens (Storrs, Conn.) dug up 10 balls. Worcester State also saw great effort on defense from Murphy, Kangwijaya, and Katie Gagnon (Hampden, Mass.) who had 9-9-8 digs, respectively.
- Bridgewater State's attack was led by Sydney Rice (Medway, Mass.) who posted a team-high seven kills and another team-high hitting percentage of .467. Elizabeth Roberts (Swansea, Mass.) and Gibbons notched six kills each.
- Elexi Miskiv (Centerville, Mass.) helped the attack with 24 assists.
- Cassidy Tyros (Chelmsford, Mass.) logged a game-high 18 digs.
- Worcester State held a 44-30 advantage in kills.
- The Lancers also notched a .276 hitting percentage, while Bridgewater stood at .142.
SEMIFINAL: Framingham State 3, Westfield State 2
The Framingham State Rams overcame a 2-0 deficit to come back and beat the third seeded Owls of Westfield State by a score of 3-2 (18-25, 23-25, 25-15, 25-19, 15-13) in the second semifinal game of the evening.
It was a close matchup from the start regarding the Ram and Owl women's volleyball teams. The Westfield Owls took the first to sets 25-18 and 25-23. Although that didn't stop the unyielding Framingham State Rams from taking the third set, gaining the win by a large ten points 25-15. The fourth set went to the Rams as well as they sealed the win 25-19.
The first set was nothing short of a grudge match. Kill after kill, point after point, every play was emotional for the Rams and Owls. Agitation was high for the Rams as the Owls took a high lead 21-13 late in the set with Lynn Shattuck (Townsend, Mass.) at the service. The Rams squad exploded with excitement after Brandey Rodriguez (Lawrance, Mass) made two key blocks to keep her team in the game. Rodriguez blocks although were not enough to clinch the win of the first set as the Owls walked to the opposite with the win (25-18). Westfield's Natasha Belaro (Springfield, Mass.) had a team high of six kills to help defeat the Rams in the set.
The second set was shown to be relentless for the Black and Gold as they knew they needed this second set win. The Owls and Rams deficit did not exceed three points during the entire second set. Westfield did not let up tempo either, as they made great defensive plays and strong kills to compete with the Rams. The game was tied 17-17 when underclassmen Mia Jeronimo (Ludlow, Mass.) sky rocked in the air to gain a huge block for the Owls. Not long after, the Blue and White were down 20-19 when Jeronimo made another clutch block to gain her team a huge point to tie it up once more. The ferocious match ends 25-23 in favor of the Owls. The Owls headed into the third set feeling confident and ready for what came next but that didn't stop the Rams. The Owls Brianna Starkey (Rockland, Mass.) secured six kills collectively during the second set.
During the third set, the spectators saw a different engine underneath the Ram's caboose as they came out early acquiring a lead 10-3 early on after coming right off of two losses. Framingham's Rodriguez, Micheala Cronin (Hampden, Mass.), and Kelly Brinkman (Gardiner, Mass.) each had four kills during the set with an addition of three more electrifying kills executed by Deirdre Fay (Cornwall, New York). Framingham's hitting percentage went from .075 in the first set to advancing .307 percent higher by the third do or die matchup. Resultantly, the final set score went to the Rams 25-15.
The Rams continued to stay the underdogs in set four trailing a 2-1 competition against the Owls. Starting the fourth set, the Rams exemplified the same do or die attitude walking on the court just as they did the last set, consequently leading by five points, 9-4 early on. Late in the set, the Rams kept composure, and one serve at a time settled into a grove. Although the Owls rallied back to tie the score 18-18 minutes following, they could not control the lead going forward. The Rams tied the Owl record for the semis 2-2 as they triumphed for the second time today winning 25-19.
The final set had the fans to the edges of their seats. The set started to get extremely eventful following the tie score 8-8. The score was 12-11 when the young sophomore for the Owls Miceala Murray (Nortfolk, Mass.) spiked the ball in Ram territory for a huge kill to tie it up again 12-12. Starkey then followed with another kill shorty after to make it 13-13. Standout freshmen, Cronin put the team on her back as she performed the winning kill to send the Rams in the Championship against the Lancers.
- Framingham's attack was led by Brinkman who had a team-high 18 kills. Rodriguez followed with 17 while Fay collected 13.
- Fay, Alexandra Fish (Lincoln, R.I.), and Mackenzie Whalen (Norton, Mass.) each acquired double-doubles. Fay registered 13 kills and a team-high 34 digs, Fish notched 10 kills and 23 digs, while Whalen notched a game-high 62 assists and 15 digs.
- For the Owls, Starkey led the attack with 23 kills.
- Bridgid Murray (Norfolk, Mass.) helped with 46 kills, while Lizzie Taylor (Medfield, Mass.) led the Owls with 43 digs.
- The Rams held a 70-55 advantage in total attacks.
- Framingham State held a .194-.171 edge in hitting percentage.
CHAMPIONSHIP: Worcester State 3, Framingham State 1
The Lancers claimed their first-ever MASCAC tournament championship as they downed Framingham State 3-1 with set scores of 25-20, 21-25, 25-17, and 25-14.
Worcester State took the first lead of the championship game with Marissa Proia (Framingham, Mass.) at the service. The Lancers gradually pulled away and gained a 6-point lead. However, the Rams battled back and knotted the score at 10-10 on kills from Fish, Rodrigues, and Fay. Worcester State pushed away again with Proia and Murphy at the service to put the score at 22-12. The Rams did not give up and battled off a 6-0 run to close the gap within four (20-24). Though, Worcester State took the first set win on a King kill.
The Rams took the first lead in the second set and held it with a slim lead until Worcester tied the score at 13-13 with a Ram error. The set saw four more ties until Framingham State took advantage of Worcester attack errors and saw kills from Rodriguez to seal the 25-21 set win with a 7-3 run.
Worcester State took the lead to start the third set with a kill from Carens. After earning an 8-point lead with three consecutive points with Leavens at the service, the Lancers did not allow the visitors to close the gap, resulting in a 25-17 third set win.
The Lancers completed the tournament with a fourth set force. Worcester State jumped off to a 4-0 lead and, once again, never looked back. The Lancers attained a 10-point lead on a 5-0 run with Murphy at the service, and kept that lead throughout the remainder, and were named MASCAC champions after Carens completed the day with a kill for a 25-14 score.
- Worcester State's King logged her second double-double of the day with 13 kills and 17 digs.
- Carens also collected 13 kills, while Murphy and Chapin registered nine and eight, respectively.
- Nolan acquired 40 helpers in the win.
- The Lancers' defense was not only led by Leavens who had a team-high 24 dis, but also Chapin who had 10 block assists in the championship game. Five other Lancers notched blocks in the win as well.
- Framingham State's Fish recorded her second double-double of the day as she notched 13 kills and 20 digs. Brinkman gathered 11 kills for the Rams.
- Whalen registered 39 kills, while Victoria Anderson (Attleboro, Mass.) led the team with a match-high 26 digs.
- As a team, Worcester State held a .191 attack percentage while Framingham's was at .106.
- The Lancers held a 49-48 edge in kills, while they held a 27-5 advantage in blocks.
With today's championship, Worcester State University volleyball team earns an automatic bid to the NCAA championship. The selection show will be hosted by the NCAA on Monday at 12:30 p.m. http://www.ncaa.com/fallselections
Portions of this release written by Corrie Derosier | Sports Information Intern