Volleyball Sweeps WPU to Advance to NJAC Championship Match
Senior Karen Martin (Sicklerville, NJ / Washington Township) added seven kills and 10 digs as the Red Hawks (14-15) knocked off the Pioneers for a second time this season 25-16, 25-15, 25-22. MSU defeated the Pioneers in four sets in Wayne, NJ on October 13.
MSU will host second-seeded and defending champion Richard Stockton in the title contest at the Panzer Athletic Center on Saturday, November 7 at 5:00 pm. It will be the second meeting in 10 days between the two. Montclair recorded a four-set win over the Ospreys at the PAC on October 28 to claim the NJAC regular-season title and top seed in the tournament. The winner of Saturday’s match will also earn the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Tournament. MSU will be seeking its third NJAC crown as the Red Hawks won the title in 1997 and again two years ago.
NJAC Player of the Year Kelly Helfrich (Clark, NJ / Arthur L. Johnson) had a match-high 13 kills along with 14 kills for William Paterson, which concluded its season at 21-8. The Pioneers advanced to the semifinals with a 3-0 sweep of No. 5 seed on Tuesday.
In the opening set, the Red Hawks never trailed and scored 11 of the sets first 14 points. Leading 2-1, Montclair scored the next four points as Burnham and Martin posted kills while the Pioneers committed two ball-handling errors. Back-to-back blocks by senior Anna Chesnakova (East Brunswick, NJ / East Brunswick) made the score 10-3 and setter Michelle Del Valle (Teaneck, NJ / Memorial) served up an ace as MSU led by eight at 11-3. William Paterson only get as close as seven the rest of the way and Martin ended the first set with an ace as the Red Hawks went up 1-0 with the 25-16 win.
The momentum stayed in Montclair’s favor into the second set as the Red Hawks jumped out to a 12-1 lead and led 16-4 as Chesnakova put down a Del Valle set. Consecutive aces by Amanda Mitchell (Secaucus, NJ / Secaucus) and a kill by Helfrich trimmed the deficit back to 16-8 however Chesnakova triggered a five-point run as Montclair went back up 21-8 and took a two-set lead with a 25-15 triumph.
The third set proved to be quite a contrast from the first two as the teams traded the first 12 points before William Paterson took a 9-7 lead on the third of six kills in the set by Helfrich. Montclair would tie the match up at 11-11 and the two remained close until WP used a three-point run to go in front 19-14. Trailing by five, the Red Hawks would respond with five-point run, tying the match at 20-20 on a kill by Moe. An attack error by MSU gave the Pioneers a 21-20 advantage but Burnham tied the set for the 11th time with a kill and after an attack error, Moe collected her sixth ace as Montclair State led 23-21.
Del Valle would get Montclair to match point before Samantha Karpinski (Hackensack, NJ / Hackensack) closed out the match a kill as Montclair advanced to its fourth NJAC championship match with the three-set win.
Del Valle finished with 29 assists for MSU which got four kills apiece from Karpinski and Chesnakova. Libero Meghan Stevens (Woodcliff Lake, NJ / Pascack Hills), the NJAC Defensive Player of the Year, had a match-best 18 digs with Chesnakova also contributing five total blocks.
Michelle Leeder (Ridgefield, NJ / Ridgefield Memorial) added five kills and eight digs for William Paterson, which got 13 assists, 14 digs and three kills from setter Magan Maher (Wood-Ridge, NJ / Wood-Ridge). Mitchell registered 14 digs.