Volleyball loses to Bentley on Senior Day, clinches 2-seed

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Photo courtesy of Tyler Wells

The Chargers volleyball team plays Bentley University, Nov. 13, West Haven.

Tyler Wells, Associate Editor

The New Haven women’s volleyball team dropped their final match of the regular season 3-1 against visiting Bentley University on Saturday. It was also Senior Day, as the Chargers honored their six seniors in a ceremony before the match.

Emotions from Senior Day quickly turned into energy as New Haven looked strong in the first set, jumping out to a commanding 19-13 lead despite long volleys between the two sides. The Falcons didn’t go down quietly, as they went on a 12-4 run to pass the Chargers, winning the first set.

In the second set, New Haven used a pair of kills from junior outside hitter Emily Barry to score six straight points and take a 21-17 lead late in the set. This proved to be too much for Bentley as a kill from freshman outside hitter Macy Brown and an attack error gave New Haven the set.

With the match all even, Bentley came out firing in the third. The set was tied at 16 before the Bentley attack came flying in with six consecutive kills to take a 22-16 lead. A pair of kills from Barry gave New Haven some life, but three straight points from Bentley iced the set and gave them a lead in the match.

The fourth set looked promising for New Haven as two kills from senior right side Jessica Akiona and a service ace from sophomore libero Rilee Jessee gave the Chargers a 10-5 lead. Bentley went on to dominate the rest of the set as New Haven couldn’t find an answer to their streaks. With the 25-20 loss in the fourth set, New Haven dropped the match 3-1.

Barry paced the Chargers offense with 19 kills, while Akiona and Brown added 13 and 11 respectively; Brown also led the Chargers with a match-high 25 digs. Freshman setter Sophia Leon-Tabor supplied 35 assists, while Jessee served four aces.

It was a disappointing loss for the Chargers who held the fate of the Northeast-10 (NE-10) Conference tournament in their hands. With a win, New Haven would have clinched the first seed and hosting rights for the tournament. Instead, an American International College win gave the Yellow Jackets the first seed.

New Haven (20-8, 10-3 NE-10) finishes as the second seed for the tournament and will have home court advantage for the first round. They will be seeking their sixth NE-10 Championship, and first since 2017. Bentley (14-11, 9-4 NE-10) secured the fourth seed with a win and will host Southern Connecticut State University.

The Chargers will face off against seventh seeded Southern New Hampshire University on Tuesday at Charger Gymnasium with a starting time set for 7 p.m. In their lone regular season matchup, the Chargers won 3-2 over the Penman. More information on the match can be found at NewHavenChargers.com.