BRONXVILLE, N.Y. – In a battle of the final two Hudson Valley Women's Athletic Conference (HVWAC) unbeatens with the regular season title up for grabs, the St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) women's volleyball team swept Sarah Lawrence College, 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 27-25) on Thursday evening at Noyse Court at Campbell Sports Center.
St. Joseph's (14-5, 6-0 HVWAC) wins three-in-a-row and completes an unblemished league schedule, capturing the regular season championship for the first time since 2008, also the last time they won the tournament title. The victory secures a first round bye in the HVWAC Championship tournament and sets up a semifinal matchup against Culinary or Pratt on Sunday, November 4th.
Sarah Lawrence (15-13, 4-1 HVWAC), who entered as winners of five of their last six, clinches the No. 2 seed despite the loss and will host Medgar Evers in the quarterfinals on Saturday, November 3rd.
The Lady Bears were paced by freshman Lauren GaNun (Breezy Point, NY/Fontbonne Hall) who led all attackers with a match-high 13 kills. Senior Kim Matthews (Breezy Point, NY/Bishop Kearney) recorded her seventh double-double of the season with 10 kills and 13 digs while junior Sabrina Cornia (Miller Place, NY/Miller Place HS) also posted her third double-double with 31 assists along with 13 digs.
Five Lady Bears finished with double-digit digs combining for 79 in total with sophomore Nicole Rios (Astoria, NY/Mary Louis) brining up 16 digs to lead the defense. Jennifer Moncino (Ridgewood, NY/Archbishop Molloy) and Anna Carbone (Ozone Park, NY/Mary Louis) chipped in 14 digs apiece.
For the Gryphons, Jomana Abdallah put down a team-high 11 kills. Kitty O'Sullivan had 16 digs to share match-high honors with Rios. Molly Busk handed out 13 assists to control the offense.
In the opening set, the Lady Bears jumped out to a 7-2 lead, but the Gryphons rallied to level the set at 10-10. St. Joseph's pulled away to a 22-14 advantage before Sarah Lawrence assembled another late rally fighting off three set points, finally succumbing 25-22.
Both squads traded points early in the second stanza, before the Lady Bears jumped out to a 10-5 lead after a pair of Moncino's match-high four aces. St. Joseph's led by as many as seven in the set, but the Gryphons clawed back into the set with an 8-2 run that cut the Lady Bear lead to 22-20. But back-to-back kills from Moran followed by a kill from Matthews sealed the 25-21 set win.
Sarah Lawrence jumped out to a 5-1 lead to open the third set, aided by four Lady Bear attack errors, but St. Joseph's won four straight to level the set at 5-5. Both teams went back-and-forth throughout the finale, which featured 12 ties and five lead changes. The Gryphons took a 23-22 advantage and threatened to extend the match, but the Lady Bears took the next two points coming out of a timeout to gain match point. Sarah Lawrence fought off two match points, but couldn't gain a set point of their own, before the Lady Bears claimed the regular season title with a 27-25 sweep.
The Lady Bears will meet sibling rivals St. Joseph's College (Long Island) to close out the regular season on Saturday, October 27th with first serve set for 12 p.m. at the Danzi Athletic Center.