NJCU Volleyball Holds Off Kean, 3-2

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UNION—Junior setter ALEX JOHANESEN (Bridgewater, NJ/Bridgewater-Raritan), sophomore outside hitter TABITHA JORDAN (Bayonne, NJ/Memorial) and senior outside hitter MELISSA LOO (Rutherford, NJ/Rutherford) all posted double-doubles as the New Jersey City University women’s volleyball team picked up a crucial New Jersey Athletic Conference road victory, holding off host Kean University, 3-2 (25-15, 19-25, 25-21, 19-25, 15-13), on Tuesday night at the Harwood Arena.

By snapping a six-match losing streak, NJCU (4-9) improves to 2-2 in the conference and climbs into fifth place in the league; the top six teams in the NJAC standings qualify for the conference tournament. Kean falls to 6-5 overall (0-3 NJAC). The Cougars lead the all-time series, 27-7, but NJCU has won six of the last seven meetings.

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Johanesen led NJCU with her fourth double-double of her career, delivering 26 assists, 22 digs and four aces. Jordan contributed a match and career-high 12 kills and added 20 digs for her third career double-double, distributing double-digits in digs for the fourth time in five matches.

Loo chipped in her first career double-double, setting career highs in kills (10) and digs (14). Freshman libero AMANDA DOPICO (West New York, NJ/Memorial) posted a career-high with a match-best 29 digs.

Also for the Knights, sophomore opposite KIARA MARTINEZ (Newark, NJ/East Side) had a career-high 19 digs—her first match with double-digit digs, adding five kills. Freshman middle hitter BRITTANY EREZUMA (Kearny, NJ/Kearny) tallied seven kills.

Kean sophomore Stefanie Santiago (Bayonne, NJ) tied the match-high with 12 kills, while chipping in with 19 digs and three service aces.  Sophomore Yesenia Velasquez (North Arlington, NJ) dished out 38 assists and had 24 digs, while Nicole Bolash (Clinton, NJ) finished with eight kills and 17 digs. Kean had six players reach double digits in digs.

In the opening set, the Knights led 12-9 before reeling off five consecutive points, capped by an ace by Jordan, for an 18-9 lead. NJCU cruised from there, winning the set by 10.
In game two, a run by the Cougars was the difference. Leading 11-9, Kean collected 10 of the next 11 points for a 21-10 lead. Kean landed four aces during the spurt. NJCU would rally, by scoring seven of the next nine, to cut the deficit to 22-17, before Kean finished a 25-19 win to tie the match.

NJCU claimed set three, coming from five points down in the process. Kean led 15-10 but NJCU got two kills from Loo and capitalized on three Cougar attack errors to cut the lead to 17-16. After NJCU took leads of 19-18 and 20-19, Bolash tied the frame at 20-20 with a kill. But from there, NJCU scored five of the next six points. A kill by Martinez, Bolash error, and back-to-back aces by Johanesen made it 24-21, before Erezuma floored a winner for a 25-21 win.

A tight fourth set saw Kean leading 20-18 before a pair of NJCU errors gave the Cougars a four-point cushion. Kean notched three straight kills for a 25-19 decision, forcing a fifth set.

The final set was knotted at 7-7. A kill by Jordan put NJCU ahead 9-7 and back-to-back aces by Johanesen extended the advantage to 13-8. But a kill by Santiago, a Bolash kill and an ace by Santiago allowed the Cougars to claw within 13-11. An NJCU error followed by a Bolash kill tied the set at 13-13. Finally, after NJCU regained a 14-13 lead off a Kean miscue, Loo put away her 10th kill as NJCU prevailed, 15-13.

NJCU returns to action on Friday, October 2 at 7 p.m. when it hosts York College (NY) on Coach Charlie Brown Court at the John J. Moore Athletics and Fitness Center.


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