Volleyball Wins NJAC Regular-Season Title

Montclair, NJ (10/28/09)  - Senior middle blocker Anna Chesnakova (East Brunswick, NJ / East Brunswick) posted 19 kills while classmate Samantha Karpinski (Hackensack, NJ / Hackensack) added a double-double with 17 kills and 16 digs as Montclair State captured the New Jersey Athletic Conference regular-season title for the first time in school history with a four-set win over Richard Stockton at the Panzer Athletic Center on Wednesday evening.

Sophomore setter Michelle Del Valle (Teaneck, NJ / Memorial) registered a season-high 51 assists as the Red Hawks finished a perfect 8-0 in conference play for the first time and will now be the No. 1 seed in the NJAC Tournament which gets underway on Tuesday, November 3. Montclair receives a first-round bye and will face the winner of the William Paterson-Rowan contest on Thursday, November 5 at the Panzer Athletic Center.

Sophomore outside hitter Christine Velott (Moorestown, NJ / Moorestown) had 14 kills for Stockton, which ad a five-match winning streak snapped with the loss. The Ospreys (23-11, 7-1 NJAC), the No. 2 seed in the tournament, will also get a first-round bye and will take on the Ramapo-Rutgers-Camden victor in the other semifinal match also slated for Thursday.

Montclair, which ran its winning streak to five consecutive matches, avenged an earlier 3-1 loss to the Ospreys at the Crusader Classic at Susquehanna University on October 10 and defeated Stockton for just the second time in 38 meetings between the two.

The match featured 45 ties and 25 lead changes with neither team gaining a lead of more than five until the fourth set.

Velott picked up four kills in the opening set as Richard Stockton pulled out to a 15-10 lead as Becca Sims (Medford, NJ / Shawnee) blocked an MSU attack attempt. Two service aces by the Red Hawks’ Meghan Stevens (Woodcliff Lake, NJ / Pascack Hills) and a kill by Karpinski got the match squared at 15-all and the match went back and forth from there until Tabitha Nejman (Runnemede, NJ / Our Lady of Mercy) got a kill to pu Stockton up 23-22. Two MSU attack errors closed out the set as the Ospreys took a 1-0 lead with a 25-22 victory.

The second set featured the same tight score as the teams traded leads eight times and registered 14 ties. Stephanie Warner (Totowa, NJ / Passaic Valley) served up an ace to give Richard Stockton a 22-20 lead, however Montclair State answered right back as Karen Martin (Sicklerville, NJ / Washington Township) and Adrianne Moe (Rutherford, NJ / Rutherford) each added kills knotting the set for the 13th time. Velott and Chesnakova traded kills for the final tie of the set and Montclair took the lead as Del Valle set up Karpinski for her fourth kill of the set. Moe added her third kill on set point as Montclair evened the match with a 25-23 victory.

In the third set, Montclair led 12-8 as Kara Burnham (Moorestown, NJ / Moorestown) finished off a Del Valle set for a 12-8 lead. Back came Stockton tying the match at 13-13 on an Allison Kleeman (Cherry Hill, NJ / Cherry Hill West) ace and the tie kept coming. Kills by Anna Streicher (Marlton, NJ / Cherokee) and Kelleigh Best (Medford, NJ / Shawnee) and two MSU errors put

Stockton back in front 22-18, however Montclair responded with a five-point run. Chesnakova got it started with a kill and she added a block and another kill around a pair of Del Valle aces as MSU moved back in front 23-22. Streicher knotted the set at 23-all with a kill, but Chesnakova and Karpinski each collected kills on the next two serves as Montclair went up 2-1 in the match with a 25-23 win.

Montclair took control of the fourth set with a 13-2 run for a 20-10 lead. Trialing 8-7, blocks by Burnham and Chesnakova put MSU ahead to stay. An attack error by Montclair cut the lead back to 10-9, but Chesnakova added two kills in between an ace from Del Valle and kill by Martin as the Red Hawks widened their lead to 14-9. Karpinski closed out the match with her fifth kill of the set as Montclair won 25-14 to take the match and the league’s regular-season crown.
Martin finished with 10 kills and 15 digs for Montclair, which got seven kill and five blocks from Burnham. Del Valle added 11 digs and four service aces while Stevens had a match-high 22 digs. Moe posted five kills and nine digs for MSU which hit .423 in the fourth set and finished the match with a hitting efficiency of .270.

Warner had nine kills and seven digs for Stockton, which got six kills from Nejman. Setters Jackie Aldrich (Westhampton Beach, NY / Westhampton Beach) and Laura Hausman (Bethlehem, PA / Catasauqa) had 17 and 20 assists, respectively.  Libero Christine Astarita (Selden, NY / Newfield) had 18 digs.

Both teams will close out their regular-season scheduled this weekend. Montclair State will head to Skidmore College for a tournament. The Red Hawks will face Cortland and New Paltz on Friday, October 30 and then take on host Skidmore and Plattsburgh on Saturday. Richard Stockton hosts a tri-match at home on Saturday. The Ospreys face Neumann University and DeSales University at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, respectively.