READING, Pa. - The streak is over. For the first time since Gallaudet University joined the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) in 2010 a team other than the Bison will represent the conference in the NCAA Division III tournament.
Gallaudet (18-16) fell to Morrisville State College (24-6) here Sunday afternoon in four sets, 3-1, on the campus of Penn St.-Berks.
The Mustangs, the No. 2 seed from the NEAC North Division and No. 3 overall seed, took the first set and closed out the final two sets (18-25, 25-18, 15-25, 22-25) to defeat the Bison for the second time this season. Morrisville swept the Bison in the regular-season match at home.
The Bison, the No. 2 seed from the NEAC South Division and No. 4 overall seed, had won the previous seven straight NEAC titles since it joined the conference.
The loss ends the star-studded career of senior outside hitter Darriyan Thomas (Vallejo, Calif.). The two-time NEAC Player of the Year finished the game with 14 kills and 16 digs for her 19th double-double this season. Thomas added four block assists and one ace. For her career, she recorded 1,417 kills, 1,487 digs, 237 aces, 76 blocks and 63 assists in 141 matches (488 sets) in four years.
Senior middle hitter Giuletta Maucere (Valley Village, Calif.) was second on the team with nine kills and four block assists. For her career, she tallied 570 kills and 212 blocks (60 solo) in 108 matches (359 sets) in four years.
Morrisville was led by tournament Most Valuable Player Megyan Merrill's 24 kills and 22 digs while Helena Hanes (10 kills) and Kim Dunkleman passed out 25 and 21 assists, respectively.
- Sophomore Adele Daniels (Austin, Texas) passed out 38 assists and 12 digs
- Junior libero Raelyn Fuechtmann (South St. Paul, Minn.) led the team with 26 digs and three aces
- Junior middle hitter Shua Clay (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) finished with nine kills and three block assists
- Freshman outside hitter Karita Lewis (Frederick, Md.) recorded six kills and one block assist
- Senior Jasmine Jeter (Noblesville, Ind.) ends her career with 1,829 assists, 424 digs, 121 aces, 65 blocks in 126 matches (406 sets) in four years
- GU is 7-2 all-time vs. Morrisville St. with both losses coming this season
- This is the second time GU has met MSC in the NEAC tournament
- Last year, GU defeated MSC in five sets, 3-2, in the NEAC semifinals
- This is the third straight year GU dropped the first set in the NEAC championship match
- GU is 1-1 in NEAC championship matches held at Penn St.-Berks
The Bison season concludes with an 18-16 record as they fail to reach 20 wins for the first time since 2008. The loss also snaps GU's seven consecutive bids to the NCAA tournament. GU lose three seniors and will look to bounce back in 2018 with its returners and a strong recruiting class.