Volleyball Holds Off Ramapo to Clinch NJAC Tournament Bye

Montclair, NJ (10/15/09) – Senior middle blocker Kara Burnham (Moorestown, NJ / Moorestown) collected 17 kills, eight blocks and two service aces, including one on match point, as Montclair State squandered a 2-0 lead, but came back for a five-set victory over Ramapo College at the Panzer Athletic Center on Thursday evening.

Senior middle blocker Anna Chesnakova (East Brunswick, NJ / East Brunswick) added 16 kills and six total blocks as the Red Hawks (8-11 overall) remained unbeaten in the NJAC and clinched a first-round by the NJAC Tournament, which begins on Tuesday, November 3. MSU, which will host a semifinal contest on Thursday, November 5, will face Richard Stockton at home on Wednesday, October 28 with the winner clinching the regular-season title and top seed in the tournament.

Sophomore opposite Kaitlin Smith (Westwood, NJ / Immaculate Heart) posted a match-high 20 kills for Ramapo, which had a four-match winning streak snapped with the loss. The Roadrunners are 17-5 overall, 4-2 in the NJAC and currently tied with William Paterson for third place in the league standings.

Montclair State led 2-0 as Burnham collected eight kills through the first two sets. MSU took the sets 28-26 and 20-25.

But the Roadrunners came storming back behind the serving of sophomore Kimberly Runge (Closter, NJ / NV-Demarest), who served 11 straight points as Ramapo raced out to a 12-2 lead in the third set. The lead was maintained at 10 points and Ramapo took a 20-8 lead as setter Tiffany Fischer (Woodcliff Lake, NJ / Pascack Hills) recorded her lone kill of the match. Smith would record seven kills in the set, including the final point of the set as the Roadrunners got back into the match with a 25-11 victory.

The fourth set became a back and forth affair with 12 ties and 11 lead changes. Montclair jumped out to a 10-4 lead, however Ramapo came back to tie the set a 12-12 on a Red Hawk attack error. From there, the teams were never more than a point apart until 20-18 when MSU’s Sam Karpinski (Hackensack, NJ / Hackensack) served up an ace. Smith countered with kill and libero Elizabeth Steck (Marlton, NJ / Cherokee) added an ace as Ramapo knotted the score at 22-all. An attack error by Kayla Anders (Harrington Park, NJ / Old Tappan) got Montclair to match point, but Allison DiAngelo (Clifton, NJ / Clifton) held that off with a kill for the 12th tie in the set. Anders rebounded with a kill and the Roadrunners forced the deciding set as Karpinski’s kill attempt went wide.

Ramapo led 3-0 to start the fifth set before Montclair tied it up scoring the next three points. After a service error gave the Roadrunners a 4-3 lead, the Red Hawks countered with the next four points to take the lead for good. Burnham began with a kill and Chesnakova followed with two of her own plus a block for a 7-4 lead. Chesnakova would add two more kills to give MSU a 12-8 lead and a service error by Anders put Montclair up four (13-9). As they had all night, Ramapo would not go away as Maura Burke (Wyckoff, NJ / Ramapo) had two kills followed by one from Smith as the gap closed to 13-12.

Burnham would register her final kill to give MSU another match point, but Burke and Smith came up with huge kills to force the third bonus set of the evening. Setter Michelle Del Valle (Teaneck, NJ / Memorial), who played at Ramapo last season, came up with a kill for the third match point for MSU. This time, the Red Hawks would not let the opportunity slip away as Burnham served up an ace for a 16-14 victory in the fifth set.

Karen Martin (Sicklerville, NJ / Washington Township) and Karpinski each had double-doubles with six kills apiece along with 13 and 14 digs, respectively. Freshman Jenna Totaro (Secaucus, NJ / Secaucus) had 21 assists and seven assists with Del Valle collecting 18 and four digs. Adrianne Moe (Rutherford, NJ / Rutherford) had four kills and 13 digs for Montclair State.

Runge added 10 kills and 19 digs for the Roadrunners, who also got 44 assists and 17 digs from Fischer. Steck led Ramapo with 20 digs while DiAngelo came up with nine kills and 14 digs. Burke posted six kills and six total blocks, including five solo and Anders contributed seven kills.

Montclair State is now off until Friday, October 23 when the Red Hawks host the MSU Classic at the Panzer Athletic Center. Montclair will face John Jay and Brooklyn College that evening at  4:00 and 6:00 pm, respectively. Ramapo will be in Troy, NY on Saturday, October 17 as the Roadrunners face Russell Sage and the College at Brockport.