WESTON, Mass. – Top-seed Regis College captured their second straight New England Collegiate Conference Championship with a come-from-behind, 3-2 victory over the Lesley University women's volleyball team on Saturday afternoon in Weston, Mass. The Lynx claimed the first two sets but could not close out the Pride who rallied to take the next three sets and earn the victory 19-25, 19-25, 25-19, 25-17, 15-12.
Regis has earned the NECC's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament and they will find out their opponent during the selection show scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on Monday morning. The Lynx will await a possible announcement of a postseason bid.
Lesley jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the opening game following a Kaylee Deluga kill, but the Pride answered back with four-straight points to knot the match at 7-7 on a Haley Schulte ace. The Lynx answered with a 4-0 run of their own, and the two teams went back-and-forth until an Emily DeBarros (Brockton, Mass.) kill tied the game at 14-all.
The Lynx rattled off 10 of the next 12 points to take a commanding 24-16 lead, taking advantage of six Pride errors during the run. Regis made a small push to get to within 24-19, but another Pride error handed Lesley the opening game, 25-19.
The Pride opened game two on a 5-1 run capped off by a Shay Faber (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) ace, but the game of runs continued as Lesley scored five-straight points to take a 6-5 lead after another Deluga kill. With the score tied at eight, Connolly, DeBarros, and Trusty each nailed kills to put the home team on top 13-8 and force a Lesley timeout.
The break in action helped the Lynx as they scored eight-straight points to take a 16-13 lead. The two teams traded runs of points and Crystina Lathrop (Houston, Texas) got the Pride to within 19-18 with a service ace that led to the final Lesley timeout. The stoppage worked again as the Lynx ended the game on a 6-1 run capped off by kills from Deluga and Anthea Rathjens (Sudbury, Mass.) to give Lesley a 2-0 lead in the match.
Rachel Bartels (Edinburg, Texas) gave the Pride a 14-6 lead in set three, but as they had done all afternoon, the Lynx battled back into the game and cut the deficit to 20-14 on a Pride error. Marden and Rathjens teamed for a block before a Pride error and a Rathjens kill made it a 20-17 contest. Trusty answered with a kill to stop the bleeding, but Rathjens nailed another kill to keep it within three at 21-18.
Lesley opened the fourth game on a 6-2 run to force an early Regis timeout. The Pride slowly chipped away and another Lathrop ace closed the gap to only 11-10. Lesley eventually took a 13-11 lead on a Deluga kill, but the Pride went on a 6-1 run to take their first lead of the set at 17-14.
Back-to-back Lesley points on Pride errors forced the final Regis timeout with the score 17-16, and this time the break worked for the home team as Regis ended the game on an 8-1 run, including seven-straight to finish the set, as the Pride forced a fifth and deciding game.
Sydney Trusty hit back-to-back kills, and a Lathrop ace put the Pride on top, 5-1 early in game five. The Lynx clawed their way back into the match as Deluga nailed a kill to make it a 7-5 game, but Graciella Molinari (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) answered with a kill of her own to make it an 8-5 game as the teams switched sides.
Trusty extended the lead to 10-5 with another kill and she later put Regis on top 13-7 with her 16th kill of the contest. With their season on the line, Lesley battled back as Rathjens and Deluga sandwiched kills around a Pride error, forcing a Regis timeout with the score 13-10. Another Regis error cut the deficit to 13-11 and Deluga buried another kill to make it a 13-12 game.
The Pride decided to go to what was working all day as Schulte fed Sydney Trusty for a kill down the line to get the Pride in front 14-12. After a good serve from Lathrop forced Lesley to play the ball over the net, Schulte set up Graciella Molinari on the left side of the floor and the sophomore crushed the ball into the center of the Lesley defense to give the Pride the 15-12 victory and their second-straight NECC crown.
Sydney Trusty led the Regis attack with 17 kills. Emily DeBarros joined her in double figures with 13 kills to go with six digs and three blocks. Graciella Molinari posted nine kills and 13 digs, while Rachel Bartels and Nicole Connolly had eight kills apiece. Connolly led the Pride defense with 20 digs, with Shay Faber adding 16 of her own. Tournament MVP Haley Schulte had five kills, 40 assists, 12 digs, and three aces in the win, while Crystina Lathrop had 11 assists, 10 digs, and five aces.
The Lynx were led by 17 kills and 21 digs from Kaylee Deluga. Ciara Bruning (Centerville, Mass.) and Anthea Rathjens added six kills apiece, and Rathjens led all players with six blocks on the day. Emily Marden posted a double-double of 31 assists and a game-high 23 digs, while Danielle McDonald (Lilitz, Pa.) added 21 digs, and Jess Reynolds (Londonderry, N.H.) also had 20 digs.
Haley Schulte (Fullerton, Calif.) earned Tournament MVP honors after posting 10 kills, 54 assists, 19 digs, and four aces during the Semifinals and Finals. Joining her on the All-Tournament were Nicole Connolly (San Mateo, Calif.) and Sydney Trusty (Durham, Conn.). Lesley's Emily Marden (Fremont, Calif.) and Kaylee Deluga (Dennis, Mass.) were also named All-Tournament selections, as well as Daniel Webster's Madeline Roulier (Pittsfield, Mass.) and Newbury College's Courtney Banks (Corona, Calif.).
Release courtesy Regis College Sports Information