NEWTON, Mass. – Senior Chidera Nwankwo (Canton, Mass.) pounded 14 kills with a dominating .636 attack percentage (14-0-22) Tuesday evening as fifth-seeded Suffolk University upset fourth-seeded Lasell College, 3-0, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) women's volleyball tournament quarterfinal match at the Lasell Athletic Center.
The Rams posted 25-20 and 25-21 victories in the first two sets, and then rallied from a 24-20 deficit in the third set with six straight points to close out the set, 26-24, and the match, 3-0. The outcome avenged a 3-0 Lasell victory over Suffolk in the regular season match back on September 15.
Suffolk (12-16), which posted its first career victory over Lasell and its first-ever GNAC Tournament win, advances to the semifinal round, where they will travel to top-seeded and #2 nationally ranked Johnson & Wales University (29-1) Thursday evening in Providence, R.I. The Wildcats, three-time defending GNAC champions, swept eighth-seeded Saint Joseph's College (Maine), 3-0, in their quarterfinal match. Lasell wraps up its season at 13-19.
Sophomore Hannah Fabiano (Litchfield, N.H.) also posted eight kills for Suffolk, who had a .237 attack percentage as a team. Senior setter Talia Lombardo (Windham, N.H.) made 30 set assists, and senior Emma Feeney (Monroe, Conn.) served up a team-high four aces. Defensively, sophomores Dakhensey Marcellus (Brockton, Mass.) and Kayla Barbera (Wakefield, R.I.) recorded 14 and 12 digs, respectively, and Nwankwo and senior Bridget Allison (Westford, Mass.) recorded two blocks each.
Senior Olivia Addington (Orange, Calif.) closed out her career with a team-high 10 kills and seven digs. Freshman Kiana Perez (Juncos, P.R.) finished off an outstanding rookie campaign with seven winners and a team-high 11 digs. Freshman Meghan Roberts (Newington, Conn.) chipped in with five kills and classmate Jess Langan (Burnt Hills, N.Y.) made 23 set assists.
The first set went back and forth until the visitors pulled ahead, 19-13. Lasell got back to within three points, but Suffolk closed out the set, 25-20. Nwankwo had five kills in the opening set.
The second set was also very close the whole way. After trading leads early on, Lasell put up five straight points and went ahead 15-11, only to see Suffolk battle back to tie it at 15-all. There were several more tie scores before the visitors pulled out a 25-21 decision.
There were seven ties in the third set, but Lasell managed to pull ahead after a 16-16 deadlock. The Lasers appeared headed to a fourth set with a 24-20 advantage, but Suffolk would not be denied, and rattled off six unanswered points to clinch the victory.
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