WASHINGTON – The Gallaudet University women's volleyball team is on its way to a fifth straight appearance in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) championship match after defeating Keuka College in straight sets, 25-14, 25-22, 25-9, Saturday in a semifinal match held in the Field House.
Top-seed Gallaudet (21-13) will face third-seed Penn St.-Berks (20-9) tomorrow, Sunday, Nov. 9, at 1 p.m. for the NEAC championship in the Field House. Gallaudet is the four-time defending NEAC champion since it entered the conference in 2010. The last time these two teams have met in the NEAC title match was in 2011 when GU won 3-2.
The Bison wasted little time as they quickly took the lead in all three sets. Freshman Darriyan Thomas (Vallejo, Calif.) took over the court in the first set when the Bison were up 5-4 when it was her turn to serve. Thomas then served GU to nine straight points, including four consecutive service aces. Fourth-seed Keuka (14-15) was unable to catch up after the 14-5 lead and Gallaudet won the set 25-14.
Gallaudet took the lead once again in the second set with freshman Kylene Etkie (Austin, Texas) serving three straight points to give the Bison an early advantage over the Wolfpack. The Bison played a strong net game on defense keeping Keuka to only six kills the entire set, while junior Molly Perkins (Apple Valley, Minn.), senior Julia Wolff (Belleville, Ontario), and junior Danielle Morris (St. Louis, Mich.) each slammed down four kills to shut down the Wolfpack, 25-22.
The third set was quickly won by the Bison, 25-9, on a great service game. Perkins came in to serve when the Bison were leading 13-8 before adding nine straight points as Gallaudet led 22-8. Keuka was only able to score one more point before ending the match, putting Gallaudet in the final round of tournament play.
Gallaudet dominated the stats sheet as it led in all major categories. Wolff led in kills (11), followed by Perkins (nine) and senior Kali Frowick (Norfolk, Neb) added six kills, a service ace and six digs to the team totals. Junior Kate Fetzer (Noblesville, Ind.) led with nine digs while junior TraciAnn Hoglind (Fishers, Ind.) added seven digs and had 32 of the team's 34 assists.
Penn St.-Berks and second-seed Wells College (23-11) faced each other in the second semifinal match where the Nittany Lions came out on top after four sets, 3-1. The Express fought hard but were unable to match Berks in kills (55-45) and digs (82-55). Berks sophomore Sophia Zhang stole the day with 19 kills and 18 digs.
In between Saturday's semifinals, the 2014 NEAC women's volleyball awards ceremony took place where all-conference team members were recognized along with Gallaudet for winning the NEAC regular-season title.