Women’s Volleyball Heads to Finals After Win Against Southern

Chris DiGeronimo, Sports Editor

Volleyball took the court Friday night (Dec 1) to take on their Elm City rivals Southern Connecticut, in the NCAA Division II East Region Semifinals. The Chargers came back from behind to win in five sets, advancing them to the finals Saturday.

In the first set Southern got out to an early 5-3 lead and the Chargers didn’t have any answers. They began to counter every New Haven point, and find every open space on the court. With the help of Owls Nation, Southern was able to seize the momentum from the Chargers from the start and didn’t look back. The Owls came out swinging and weren’t letting the Chargers get on their usual run. New Haven was able to cut the deficit to two with the score 13-11 but that was as close as they were going to get as Southern won the set 25-20.

The second set was much of the same as Southern was able to obtain a 6-0 lead to start the set. The Chargers were flustered and looked like a shell of what they were just 24 hours earlier. They couldn’t get any clean hits over the net as the Owls tipped everything in sight. Point after point, Southern took control of the set and ultimately the match. The energy coming from the opposing side of the gym was unmatched by Charger nation which left fans shaking in their free shirts. The Chargers lost the set 25-22, and went down 2-0 for the first time this season against an NE-10 opponent.

The Chargers finally came out with some energy that was missing in the first two sets, but it still wasn’t enough. With every point the Chargers scored, Southern was right there to counter. New Haven got out to a 13-7 lead midway through, and this finally gave them the breathing room they had been looking for all night. The Chargers then went on a seven-point run to bring the set to 20-12 on a kill by Annika Hacker. After allowing two more Southern points, New Haven was able to win the set 25-14.

The fourth set showed why this was Southern’s first time in the NCAA tournament. Southern had the opportunity to knock out the number one seed and their biggest rivals, but they didn’t have the experience to finish the job.

The Chargers got out to an early 8-4 lead and turned Southern’s momentum against them. With Charger nation back on their feet, New Haven was back in action. After a kill by Kristine Rios to get the Chargers up 12-7, there was no chance of an Owl comeback. Junior Lindsey Kim got the serve and led a five-point Chargers run to bring the set to 17-7. After a few mishaps by the Chargers and a few more Southern points, the Chargers won the set 25-20 tying the match at two sets apiece.

In the fifth set the pressure was too much for the Owls to overcome as they got behind once again. The Chargers got out to a 7-6 lead and took control from there. After getting out to a 12-9 lead the Chargers went on a three- point run to win the set 15-9. Charger nation went wild, as this was something they had never seen before.

New Haven will return to the court Saturday December 2 when they take on American International in the East Region Final.