NEW YORK, N.Y. (Nov. 3, 2017)
- On Friday night, top-seeded Hunter College did it again for the fourth-consecutive year, capturing the 2017 CUNYAC/Pepsi Women's Volleyball Championship, following a 3-0 sweep (25-11, 25-17, 25-16) of No. 3 seed John Jay College at the Hunter Sportsplex.
The Hawks (27-4) reached the championship match with a 3-0 rout of fourth-seeded Baruch College in a semifinal earlier that evening, while the Bloodhounds (18-12) beat No. 2 seed Brooklyn College in three sets to secure a spot in the final for the first time in program history.
For Hunter, it was its fourth title in as many seasons and the Hawks' 24th championship since their inception, the most by any institution in CUNYAC women's volleyball history.
"It feels great (to win another championship). We have a great program. My players worked really hard and we executed today," Head Coach Alyssa Broccoli
stated. "We came out with a vengeance and didn't stop pushing."
Junior outside hitter Taylor Haiduk
was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player for the second-straight season. Haiduk had double-digit kills in both matches, including an 11-kill performance on a .500 hitting percentage in just two sets in the semifinal victory over Baruch.
"It feels amazing to be the Most Valuable Player again," said Haiduk. "I couldn't have done it without my teammates. Our coach brought in an outstanding recruiting class and we have a ton of great freshmen. Everyone pushes so hard in the gym that it makes me want to do better."
The Hawks were flying from the onset of the match, opening the first set on a 13-4 run. Senior outside hitter Julia Connolly
notched three kills in the burst. Junior setter Miranda Hogan
capped it off with a service ace.
Hunter, which hit at a stifling .519 clip in the first set, eventually built a commanding 18-8 lead and benefited from a Brianna Geraldo
attack error to take the game, 25-11.
In the second set, John Jay rallied from an early 10-4 deficit with a five-point spurt to close the gap to a one-point game. Junior outside hitter Brittany Steele
, who finished with a match-best 11 kills in the effort, tallied three kills in the burst.
However, the Hawks reeled off a 10-3 response to pull away from the Bloodhounds. Hunter again capitalized on mistakes, as John Jay committed five attack errors in the run to account for half of the opposition's points.
Lastly, in the third set, Hunter and John Jay exchanged the first two points, before the Hawks went on a 7-1 run, led by a pair of Haiduk kills, to grab an 8-2 advantage.
Shortly thereafter, the Hawks doubled up on the Bloodhounds, increasing their lead to 18-9. A block from Marlena Budna
and Emily Wasson
soon clinched a 25-16 victory for Hunter and their fourth-straight CUNYAC title.
Budna registered nine kills on a .643 attack percentage and added five blocks in the match. Connolly collected nine kills, six digs and two blocks. Freshman middle blocker Kendra Moore
pitched in seven kills and two blocks. Wasson slammed down five kills. Hogan allocated 32 assists.
For John Jay, Geraldo recorded nine kills and eight digs. Junior opposite hitter Mballou Berete
contributed four kills and two digs. Sophomore setter Kimberly Rodriguez
dished out 24 assists.
Hunter has now received the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship and awaits word on its seeding in the tournament. The selection show will air on Monday, Nov. 6 at 12:30 p.m. on NCAA.com
2017 CUNYAC Women's Volleyball Championship All-Tournament Team
Most Valuable Player: Taylor Haiduk, Hunter
Katherine Chen, Baruch
Michaela Appel, Brooklyn
Brittany Steele, John Jay
Brianna Geraldo, John Jay
Marlena Budna, Hunter
Julia Connolly, Hunter