BROOKLINE, Mass. – The third-seed Newbury College women's volleyball team defeated sixth-seed Bay Path University, 3-1, in the first round of the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Championship Tournament, Tuesday evening. They advance to the NECC semifinals against second-seed Lesley University at Regis College, Friday evening.
Newbury came out of the gate strong, jumping out to at the quick 1-0 lead taking the first set, 25-21. Junior middle hitter Courtney Banks (Corona, Calif.) and sophomore right-side Maya Umoren (Quincy, Mass.) combined to hit .529 with 10 kills on 17 attempts and just one miscue.
The Nighthawks continued to roll in the second set with a 25-20 win to take the two-game lead. Banks posted a set-high four kills on nine attempts for a .444 attack percentage. Fellow junior Gabby Aldaco (Springdale, Ark.) chipped in with two kills on a five attempts while fellow Arkansas native, sophomore setter Marlen Reynoso (Springdale, Ark.) paced the offense with 11 assists.
But Bay Path was not going to go away quietly, mounting a comeback in the third set, jumping out to quick 3-0 lead following back-to-back service aces by junior outside Jennifer Pham (Springfield, Mass.). It was back-and-forth, barn-burner with a 11 ties and five lead changes.
Late in the set, with the match tied at 20-20, the Wildcats took advantage of Nighthawk errors to take the 24-21 lead. and force second year Head Coach Mark Thomas to call his second time-out of the set. Newbury answered with a 4-0 run to tie the game up at 24 following back-to-back aces by Banks. The Nighthawks went on to take the set, 28-26.
Banks finished the game with a match-high 16 kills on 30 attempts with just two errors for a .467 attack percentage while recording a double-double tallying 11 digs. Umoren was right behind her with a 11 kills on 28 attempts.
Sophomore middle hitter Lauren Vallee (Bristol, Conn.) led the way for the Wildcats with 11 kills on 39 attempts while first year setter Lexi Cears (Agawam, Mass.) paced the Wildcat offense with 12 assists.