By Michael Otero
On Thursday, Dec. 3, the fifth-seeded Pioneers got an incredible performance from sophomore outside-hitter Danielle Valenza, who totaled a match-high 19 kills, but it wasn’t enough to get passed fourth-seeded NYIT in the NCAA Division II Championship East Region quarterfinal. NYIT ultimately won the hard fought match 3-2.
The Pioneers claimed the first set rather easily thanks to a 12-2 run late, but lost their groove; dropping the next two sets. With their backs against the wall, the Pioneers responded and it was Valenza who provided the impetus. During an 8-1 run in the fourth set, she slammed down two kills and also had a block.
In the deciding fifth and final set, the Pioneers were, again, led by Valenza who had four kills, but NYIT weathered the storm and came out on top in the final set, 15-13. In addition to Valenza’s fantastic game, freshman outside-hitter Rachel Londot totaled 14 kills and 11 digs while junior outside-hitter Analise Austin chipped in with six kills and seven digs of her own.
Head Coach Shellane Ogoshi and her team finished the season with 23 wins compared to 11 losses. The team will look to build on its successful campaign next fall.