Strong Finish Lifts Baruch Past NJCU Volleyball, 3-1

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JERSEY CITY—The New Jersey City University women’s volleyball team led Baruch College, 16-15, in the third set of a tied match, before the Bearcats scored nine straight points and cruised in the fourth set, winning the contest, 3-1 (25-16, 23-25, 25-18, 25-11) in a non-conference match on Saturday afternoon on Coach Charlie Brown Court at the John J. Moore Athletics and Fitness Center.

Baruch (13-4) extended its winning streak to three matches and improves to 9-1 over its last 10 matches. NJCU (5-10) has its two-match winning streak snapped. Baruch, who also defeated the Gothic Knights in the season opener on September 5, leads the all-time series, 5-2. It was the first meeting between the programs in Jersey City since October 21, 1995.


For Baruch, junior middle blocker Christina Pierre (Bronx, NY/Aquinas) led the visitors with a match-best 18 kills and four blocks, hitting .444 overall (18-2-36). Junior outside hitter Martina Micko (Ostrava, Czech Republic/Glen Cove) had 11 kills (11-4-24, .292) and eight of the Bearcats’ 18 service aces.

For NJCU, sophomore outside hitter TABITHA JORDAN (Bayonne, NJ/Memorial) chalked up her fourth consecutive double-double—and her fifth of the season and her career—as she collected a career-high 13 kills (13-4-42, .214), matched her personal best with 20 digs, and landed four aces.

Junior setter ALEX JOHANESEN (Bridgewater, NJ/Bridgewater-Raritan) provided 30 assists to bring her career total to 1,967. She added five digs and hit .600 with three kills (3-0-5). Freshman libero AMANDA DOPICO (West New York, NJ/Memorial) delivered a match-high 22 digs; it was her third 20-dig match of the year.

Also for NJCU, senior outside hitter MELISSA LOO (Rutherford, NJ/Rutherford) finished with 12 digs and eight kills (8-3-33) while freshman middle hitter MARISSA FLYNN (Bayonne, NJ/Holy Family Academy) tallied seven kills and two aces. Sophomore opposite KIARA MARTINEZ (Newark, NJ/East Side) chipped in five kills (5-2-15, .200).

Baruch rookie setter Melinda Santiago (East Patchogue, NY/Bellport) had a double-double with 35 assists and 10 digs. Senior opposite Mayra Estepan (Forest Hills, NY/Francis Lewis) finished with 12 digs, nine kills, a .333 attack percentage (9-1-24), six assists and two aces. Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Hayden (Parker, CO/Chaparral) collected nine kills and a .304 percentage (9-2-23) and sophomore libero Posey Wilson (Fayetteville, AR/Fayetteville) defended 19 digs.

A close first set saw Baruch holding a 15-14 lead. But an ace, followed by consecutive kills by Estepan, Pierre and Micko, allowed the Bearcats to move in front, 20-14, before winning 25-16, concluding the game on a 10-2 run.

In the second set, back-to-back kills by Pierre on over passes put the Bearcats in front, 16-12. But a kill by Martinez following a terrific defensive pancake play made it 16-13 and Jordan reeled off three straight aces to give NJCU a 17-16 margin. Loo and Martinez floored winners for a 19-16 lead. Jordan had a kill for 20-17 and Loo followed with consecutive winners as the Knights gained a 22-17 advantage. Baruch hung around, clawing within two, 23-21 on a Micko kill before Johanesen tipped a ball to an open spot on the floor for a 24-21 lead and Jordan sealed the 25-21 win with a kill. NJCU hit .312 as a team in the set (14-4-32).

In the game that would decide the match, the schools combined for 12 ties. A kill by Johanesen would put NJCU in front 16-15 before the Bearcats tied it at 16-16 on a Micko shot. Behind Micko, who served the next nine points, Baruch would run off nine consecutive points and 10 of the next 12 for a 25-18 win. Micko uncorked four aces during the run, including three in a row to push the lead to 24-16. Hayden had three kills for Baruch during the spurt.

In the final set, Baruch took leads of 6-0, 10-1 and 15-4, before cruising to a 25-11 win to claim the match in four games. The Bearcats hit .257 as a team for the match, including a .444 percentage in the last set, with 13 kills and only one error.

NJCU will host Richard Stockton College in a New Jersey Athletic Conference match on Tuesday, October 6 at 7 p.m. Baruch visits Polytechnic Institute of NYU on October 8.

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