JERSEY CITY—New Jersey City University received seven kills, three blocks and a .545 hitting percentage by freshman middle hitter MELISSA FLYNN (Bayonne, NJ/Holy Family Academy) and sophomore outside hitter TABITHA JORDAN (Bayonne, NJ/Memorial) collected a match-best eight winners as the Gothic Knights hit .306 as a team and cruised past Rutgers-Newark, 3-0 (25-7, 25-20, 25-10), in the 2009 New Jersey Athletic Conference opener for both schools.
NJCU evens its record at 3-3 overall while playing its first home contest of the year. Rutgers-Newark drops to 0-12 on the year, as its losing streak reached 16 matches. The Scarlet Raiders lead the all-time series, 31-9, but NJCU has won eight of the last nine meetings. NJCU had 11 team aces and six players notched at least one.
Junior setter ALEX JOHANESEN (Bridgewater, NJ/Bridgewater-Raritan) paced the Knights to their third win in four matches as she delivered 23 assists in 53 attempts for a .434 setting percentage, while landing three aces and chipping in five digs.
Flynn made just one error with seven kills on 11 attempts for a .545 attack rate and two of her three blocks were solo stuffs. Jordan hit .278 (8-3-18). Senior outside hitter MELISSA LOO (Rutherford, NJ/Rutherford) provided five kills and hit .385 with a line of 5-0-13. Sophomore opposite KIARA MARTINEZ (Newark, NJ/East Side) landed a match-high four service aces.
Newark hit -.048 as a team, but junior middle blocker Crystal Navarro (Passaic, NJ/Passaic) had a solid outing with six kills and a .364 percentage (6-2-11). Freshman middle blocker Rachel Witt (Basking Ridge, NJ/Ridge) finished with three aces while junior setter Gabi Mangieri (West Orange, NJ/West Orange) totaled 12 assists.
With the first set knotted at 4-4, NJCU unleashed a 21-3 run to seal the set, as the Knights hit .364 with nine kills (9-1-22) in the frame, behind four winners from Jordan. The Raiders hit -.150 in the set.
NJCU held an early lead in the second set and maintained a 15-12 margin before Newark rallied to tie it at 16-16 and 17-17. The Raiders remained within one, 20-19, after an NJCU error, but Loo buried back-to-back kills to seize a 22-19 cushion, and Flynn floored a shot for a 25-20 win. The Knights hit .227 in the set and had 10 kills; the Raiders added nine of their 17 kills in the set and were in positive percentage territory (.083).
The final set was all NJCU from the beginning as the hosts vaulted out to leads of 8-0 and 13-1, behind the serving of Johanesen and Jordan, who served seven straight points. An ace by Martinez saw the lead swell to 17-3, before prevailing 25-10.
Both schools return to action on Friday, September 18 at the two-day Hawks Invitational at SUNY-New Paltz in New Paltz, NY. NJCU faces the host Hawks in the opening match on 4 p.m. while the Raiders square off with Mount Saint Mary College (NY) at the same time.
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