Women's Volleyball Falls to Lesley in NECC Semifinals

Photo by:  Mike Broglio
Photo by: Mike Broglio

WESTON, Mass. – The Newbury College women's volleyball team fell to second-seed Lesley University, 3-1, the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Semifinals, Friday evening. 

The Lynx are 2-0 in NECC Championship games and last won the conference title in 2010 when they upset No. 1 seed Daniel Webster College 3-2 (25-17, 25-17, 24-26, 16-25, 15-8). Newbury finishes their 2015 season with a 16-12, 6-3 NECC record.

Sophomore Kaylee Deluga (Dennis, Mass.) led the Lynx attack with 18 kills and also chipped in defensively with 12 digs. Ciara Bruning (Centerville, Mass.) had 11 kills and two digs while Jessie Reynolds (Londonderry, N.H.) and Danielle McDonald (Lilitz, Pa.) each recorded 13 digs.

The first set was a back and forth affair that saw numerous lead changes. Lesley built up a 17-14 advantage after a service error, but the Nighthawks came storming back to take a 19-17 lead with two kills by Lina Miranda (Brockton, Mass.) and a service ace by sophomore setter Marlen Reynoso (Springdale, Ark.). The Lynx took a timeout and responded by knotting up the score three more times before Reynoso set up Nighthawks junior Courtney Banks (Corona, Calif.) for the final two points to give Newbury the early 1-0 advantage.

After taking the first set, the Nighthawks held the advantage midway through the second set before the Lynx strung together four straight points to knot the score at 14-14 with Danielle McDonald serving. McDonald's clutch serving was key again later in the set as she buried a service ace to put Lesley up 23-22 and forced Newbury to take a timeout. After the stoppage, McDonald's serving prowess led to a Bruning and Deluga kill to take the set and tie the match at 1-1.

Lesley's momentum carried into the important third set as they held their largest lead of the contest 5-0 which forced a Newbury timeout.  The Nighthawks wouldn't go down without a fight as they outscored the Lynx 15-4 to take a 15-9 lead. Banks secured three of the Nighthawks points with three kills and Julia Leggett (Longview, Wash.) made two services aces during the run. Lesley responded with a run of their own as they capitalized on four Newbury attack errors to take a 20-17 lead. Lesley led the rest of the way as they took the third set 25-23 and a 2-1 lead in the semifinals match.

The final set was like the opening set of the contest as it saw numerous lead changes early on. With the score tied at nine apiece, the Nighthawks outscored the Lynx 6-2 with Gabby Aldaco (Springdale, Ark.) serving and Banks making four kills during the Nighthawks rally. Newbury was poised to take the set before two attack errors and a ball handling error gave the Lynx a 23-21 lead and forced the Nighthawks to take a timeout. Newbury responded after the stoppage as Reynoso found Maya Umoren (Quincy, Mass.) for an easy kill that cut the Lynx lead to one, but a ball handling error and a kill by Kaylee Deluga clinched the match for Lesley.

Banks had a match high 21 kills and also was active on defense with 11 digs and five blocks.  moren had 12 kills, while Leggett had a match-high 16 digs and Reynoso doled out a match-high 43 helpers.

Regis will host Lesley tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. with the NECC Championship on the line.

-- Game story provided by: Matthew Cerullo, Assistant Sports Information Director - Regis College