NASHUA, N.H. -- Fourth-seeded Daniel Webster spotted fifth-seeded Lesley a one-set lead but stormed back to capture the next three sets and earn a 3-1 victory in the opening round of the New England Collegiate Conference Women's Volleyball Championship Tournament Tuesday night at Mario Vagge Gymnasium.
The Eagles (11-12), who earned set scores of 17-25, 25-22, 25-21, and 25-22, advance to the semifinal round to take on top-seed and championship host Southern Vermont (10-8) Friday night at 6:00 p.m. The second semifinal pits third-seeded Newbury (14-15) and second-seeded Regis (13-17) at 8:00 p.m. Semifinal winners advance to the championship match, set for Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at Southern Vermont.
Lesley saw its season end at 9-17 overall.
The rookie tandem of Madeline Roulier (Pittsfield, Mass.) and Samantha Betts (Rancho Cucamonga, Cal.) combined for 20 kills for the victors, registering 10 apiece. Betts added a monster effort defensively, pulling in a career and program single-match record of 29 digs - breaking her own record set nine days ago - while Roulier pulled in nine digs.
Maggie Belli (Miami, Fla.) added 22 digs in the back court while Ally Hayden (Bedford, N.H.) dished out 27 assists. Christina Matos (Tampa, Fla.) chipped in with seven kills and Brooke Marcotte (Nashua) added three.
Lesley senior Kristina Stroganoff (Cedar Grove, N.J.) closed out her senior campaign with a terrific outing of 14 kills, four aces, and 20 digs. Danielle Johnson (Waterford, Conn.) added 25 assists, nine kills and 16 digs, while Danielle McDonald (Lilitz, Penn.) pulled in 23 digs and added four aces and two digs. Jessie Reynolds (Londonderry, N.H.) chipped in with five kills.
Meeting in the postseason for the fourth straight year, the Eagles bested the Lynx for the sixth straight time dating back to 2010 and took a 3-2 all-time postseason series lead over their rivals.
DWC survived despite hitting .115 as Lesley edged the Eagles in total kills 39-34 but were undone by 27 attack errors.
Lesley also finished with the advantage in assists (37-29) and aces (9-6) while DWC edged the visitors in total digs (82-81).
DWC built an early 6-2 lead in the opener but Lesley used a quick 8-0 run to take control and later added a devastating 10-2 run to take a 20-10 lead keyed by two kills from Reynolds, and later closed it out on a Johnson ace.
DWC answered in a back-and-forth second set that saw 11 ties and five lead changes. Roulier knocked down three kills for the hosts while Stroganoff knocked down four and the Eagles survived despite allowing six aces. Tied at 22 all, DWC was aided by two unforced Lynx errors and a Roulier kill for the 25-22 win.
DWC hit its best for the night (.189) in the third behind three kills each from Betts and Matos, helping balance a six-kill attack from Stroganoff. DWC never trailed but also never led by more than four and closed it out on a Matos kill.
The Eagles were forced to dig out from holes of 8-3 and 12-7 in the fourth. Roulier put down five in the set for the Eagles while Betts and Matos added three. Johnson banged down five kills for Lesley.
Trailing 12-7 after a Reynolds strike, Skylar Evans (Cranston, R.I.) went to the line and would rack up six straight points which included an ace and a Matos kill for their first lead at 13-12.
The teams were tied as late as 18-all but a Bree Cosgrove (Raymond, N.H.) strike put the hosts up for good at 19-18 and three kills from Roulier later pushed it to 23-20.
After Johnson and Betts traded kills, Matos later closed it out with her seventh and final kill of the night for the 25-22 final.
Looking ahead, DWC will face a Southern Vermont squad that KO'd the Eagles in four in last year's NECC semifinals. SVC posted a 3-1 victory over DWC this season and have topped the Eagles four straight times dating back to 2010 which includes playoff meetings in both 2011 and 2012. The Eagles will also be seeking their first win in Bennington since 2008.