Women’s Volleyball Claims 2010 Northeast-10 Conference Championship, Eliminates Pace in Finals, 3-0

Andy Beardsley

WEST HAVEN, Conn. – Senior Sara Malmlov registered a match-high 16 kills on Saturday evening, as the University of New Haven women’s volleyball team completed its quest for the 2010 Northeast-10 Conference Tournament Championship with a 3-0 (25-19, 25-23 and 25-23) victory over Pace University in the final game at Chargers Gymnasium. UNH has now captured the tournament title twice in just three years with the conference.

With the win, New Haven improved to 26-2 on the campaign, keeping pace with the 1996 season (44-2). Pace University concluded their season with an overall mark of 20-10 with the loss.

The first game of the match featured a quick start for the Chargers, behind the powerful hitting of Malmlov. The Northeast-10 Player of the Year collected three kills early on en route to a 6-2 advantage. New Haven used strong defense and a steady offensive attack to sustain the lead, moving the score to 17-12 midway through the set. The teams exchanged point down the final stretch when back-to-back errors by the Pace offense granted UNH a 23-17 lead. After a kill from Tymika Duncan, Malmlov concluded the first set with her sixth kill, as the Chargers took game one by the final score of 25-19. UNH registered 16 kills and four errors on 33 total attempts with 66 percent of its attacks resulting in a point.

The second game of the night was a back-and-forth battle that remained tight for much of the set. It wasn’t until the score read 12-12, when New Haven began to pull away behind two aces from Malmlov. The Chargers extended their lead to five and inched closer to a second triumph after two kills from Keidy Candelaria and Malmlov, leaving the score 24-19. The Setters made a late surge but a final tally from Malmlov solidified a 25-23 win, granting the Chargers a 2-0 series advantage. Six different members of the squad recorded at least one kill, once again led by Malmlov who hammered down four in the game.

Pace jumped out to an early lead in the third set, but UNH quickly erased the deficit with three straight points to tie the score up at 10-10. The Setters bounced back with five straight points, forcing a Chargers time-out, with the home team trailing 15-10. Sparked by a kill and an ace by Malmlov, UNH strung together four consecutive points, cutting into the Setters’ lead. The teams exchanged points until the scoreboard read 20-20, when Liz Akinbiyi granted the Chargers a 21-20 with a kill shot. The conference’s top two squads traded points, leaving match point for New Haven, where Malmlov put away the Setters with her sixth kill of the set for the tournament championship.

Malmlov paced the Chargers offense with a match-high 16 kills on 44 total attempts and added eight digs. Junior setter Chelsey Alpough, the 2010 Northeast-10 Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player, totaled 36 assists and three kills, while Akinbiyi chimed in with seven kills. Candelaria finished with six kills and seven digs, while Heather Ladao led the back row with 14 digs.

The Chargers return to action with the opening round of the NCAA East Region Tournament on Thursday, November 18. The opponent and place has yet to be determined. Check back to www.NewHavenChargers.com for up-to-date information regarding the schedule.