JERSEY CITY—Senior Night is always a special occasion for those graduating players and their teammates. But on Senior Night 2009, New Jersey City University’s lone four-year women’s volleyball had the match of her life.
Senior outside hitter MELISSA LOO (Rutherford, NJ/Rutherford) posted her fourth double-double of the season and second straight, slamming a career-best 19 kills while hitting .273, tacking on 13 digs and five aces as the Gothic Knights defeated John Jay College, 3-1 (25-17, 26-28, 25-12, 26-24) in a non-conference on Thursday night on Coach Charlie Brown Court at the John J. Moore Athletics and Fitness Center.
NJCU wins its second straight to improve to 7-17 overall and 3-4 at home. John Jay (8-22) loses its second straight and fifth match in six outings. It was NJCU’s 16th consecutive victory over the Bloodhounds and the Knights lead the all-time series, 20-2. The clubs combined for 31 service aces—18 by NJCU.
Loo, who never had more than 12 kills in her career and only five double figure kill totals in 85 career matches, put on a show in front of her family, landing 19 kills with only seven errors in 44 attempts. Ironically, Loo, who played defensive specialist her first three seasons, had more kills in this match than she did in any of her first three years; she had nine as a rookie in 2006, 12 kills in 2007 and 11 in 2008.
Sophomore outside hitter TABITHA JORDAN (Bayonne, NJ/Memorial) nearly recorded her 11th double-double, finishing with 14 kills (14-7-55, .127), chipping in nine digs and two aces. She had her streak of consecutive matches with double digits in digs snapped at 13.
Junior setter ALEX JOHANESEN (Bridgewater, NJ/Bridgewater-Raritan) connected on 39 assists, adding six digs, three kills and one aces. Freshman middle hitter MARISSA FLYNN (Bayonne, NJ/Holy Family Academy) was one shy of her career high in kills, landing nine for a .250 percentage (9-4-20). She did post a career-best four blocks, adding three aces.
Defensively for NJCU, freshman libero AMANDA DOPICO (West New York, NJ/Memorial) had 13 digs and three aces while sophomore opposite KIARA MARTINEZ (Newark, NJ/East Side) registered 11 digs and four aces.
The visitors received 11 kills and a .241 attack rate (11-4-29), with nine digs, four aces and two blocks from sophomore outside hitter Justyna Kopec (Nowa Deba, Poland/Franklin D. Roosevelt). Junior setter Erica Lee (New York, NY/Seward Park) had 21 assists and nine digs. Senior libero Katherine Higuera-McCoy (Jamaica, NY/St. Francis Prep) defended a match-high 19 digs.
JJC also had 17 digs and seven kills delivered by senior outside hitter Andrea Medina (Brentwood, NY/Brentwood), while sophomore opposite Rosmery Martinez (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic/James Madison) finished with eight kills, six digs and two aces.
SET 1: NJCU hit .300 as a team with 13 kills and only four errors in 30 attempts, winning the opening set by eight, thanks to a late 12-1 run. There were 12 ties and six lead changes during the game. The Knights trailed 16-13 before four straight Bloodhound errors allowed the Knights to grab a one-point edge. Jordan floored two kills and Loo—who served 11 consecutive times during the NJCU rally—uncorked an ace, for a 21-16 margin. A kill by Johanesen followed by another Loo ace made it 24-16, before Jordan was credited with a kill on set point. Loo and Jordan each chalked up five kills during the game.
SET 2: Each team had 13 kills during the second set, but NJCU, which led 23-20, failed to protect the lead. The visitors had a 17-14 cushion before NJCU gaining control after a 6-1 run. Jordan, who had two kills during the run to make it 20-18, added a kill at 21-19, and combined with Flynn for a block of Rosmery Martinez at 22-20. Flynn landed a winner for a 23-20 edge. But a kill by Kopec, followed by two NJCU attack errors saw the set tied at 24-24. The teams traded attack errors for a 25-25 score, before Loo and Medina tallied kills for a 26-26 tie. But an ace by Rosmery Martinez, followed by an NJCU attack error gave the guests a 28-26 win, tying the match, 1-1.
SET 3: NJCU, led by a .500 attack rate and six kills from Loo (6-1-10), hit .286 as a team in the third set (11-3-28) and dominated, winning 25-12. Flynn hit .600 in the frame (3-0-5). Trailing 6-5, NJCU scored 20 of the final 26 points in the set. Loo put NJCU in front to stay with a pair of kills before Kiara Martinez notched back-to-back aces. A Jordan kill made it 14-8 and Flynn landed a shot at 17-10. Jordan extended the lead to 19-10 with another ace. Two kills by Loo pushed the lead to 23-12 and Martinez registered a pair of aces to seal the 25-12 win.
SET 4: NJCU and John Jay traded the lead three times and there were six ties in the final set. Trailing 10-8, the Knights unloaded for another run, this time 8-1, to seize a 16-11 cushion. Loo chalked up two aces during the spurt. Loo, Johanesen and Jordan each had kills during the streak. An ace by Dopico made it 18-15 before JJC cut the lead to 18-17 with a pair of winners. Johanesen floored an ace for a 20-17 cushion and a Loo shot made it 22-18. Martinez landed a shot for a 23-19 lead. But a Bloodhound kill followed by two aces from Rosmery Martinez allowed the visitors to rally for a 23-23 tie. Loo gave NJCU match point with a kill before Medina forced a 24-24 tie. But after a JJC error, Jordan capped her night with a winner and NJCU escaped with a 26-24 victory, winning the match, 3-1.
NJCU will conclude its 27th season of women’s volleyball on Saturday, October 31 at 9 a.m. when it competes in the Hunter College Invitational in New York. The Knights will face Polytechnic Institute of New York University and St. Joseph’s College (NY), followed by a playoff match. John Jay is back in action on November 3 when it visits Hunter in the CUNYAC Quarterfinals at 6 p.m.
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