WASHINGTON – The Gallaudet University's women's volleyball team claimed its fifth consecutive North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) title Sunday afternoon as the Bison swept Penn St.–Berks in three straight sets. This is the third year Gallaudet has hosted the NEAC championship tournament at the Field House, and the third time that the Bison have faced Berks in the championship since joining the conference. The victory over the Nittany Lions (20-10) gives Gallaudet (22-13) an automatic bid into the 2014 NCAA Division III tournament.
Penn St.-Berks led the beginning of each set but was unable to hold the lead as Gallaudet won 25-14, 25-22, 25-21. A kill from junior Molly Perkins (Apple Valley, Minn.) gave the Bison their first lead, 7-6, and the Bison continued with a strong attack game as Berks was unable to match the 13 Bison kills. Junior TraciAnn Hoglind (Fishers, Ind.) served six straight points to give the Bison a big lead before the set ended.
The Bison got a late lead in the second set as an error from the Nittany Lions finally put Gallaudet ahead 12-11. Junior Danielle Morris (St. Louis, Mich.) dominated the set with five straight service points and five kills to put the Bison up 24-22. The set ended on a huge kill from Perkins.
Once again, Berks took an early lead in the third set, 8-4, before freshman Darriyan Thomas (Vallejo, Calif.) got her chance to serve. True to form, Thomas served five straight points to give Gallaudet a 9-8 lead. The game stayed close as Berks regained the lead, 11-10, as the score stayed close before being knotted at 14 until senior Kali Frowick (Norfolk, Neb.) came into serve the Bison to a 20-14 lead. Morris continued her outstanding performance, leading the Bison with seven kills in the set. The Nittany Lions were only able to pull within two points before ending the game on an attack error into the net.
The Bison outplayed Berks at the net, nearly doubling kill totals (46-27) and posted a team attack percentage of .307 compared to the Nittany Lions' .122. Morris led the way with 13 kills an seven digs to to earn Most Valuable Player honors. Frowick, the 2014 NEAC Player of the Year, added 12 kills, six digs and two block assists in the win. Senior Julia Wolff (Belleville, Ontario) and Perkins each added eight kills and one block assist. Hoglind had 42 assists on the 46 Bison kills and added seven digs while junior libero Kate Fetzer (Noblesville, Ind.) had 12 of the 40 team digs.
The Bison are 2-9 in nine official appearances in the NCAA tournament. Last year, they faced No. 8 ranked Juniata College and lost 3-1. Tournament pairings and matchup locations will be revealed at 11 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 10, on the NCAA's online selection show that can be viewed at www.ncaa.com. The NCAA tournament will begin on Friday, Nov. 14.