Long Island Nips Bears 3-2 in Courtyard By Marriot Classic Finale
Oct. 1, 2005
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - The University of Northern Colorado women's volleyball team fought hard but came up just short in the championship match of the Courtyard by Marriott LIU Classic at the Schwartz Center. The Bears fell behind 2-1 to host Long Island but forced a fifth set before eventually losing by scores of 30-28, 30-32, 30-28, 25-30 and 15-11.
Northern Colorado (7-9) settled for a runner-up finish at the event, finishing 3-1 in the two-day tournament on the East Coast. The host Blackbirds (10-10), a 2004 NCAA Tournament team, claimed the team title by winning all four of its matches during the weekend.
Northern Colorado had two players named to the All-Tournament team, Amanda Wiggins and Lizzy Rhoads. Wiggins averaged 3.87 kills, 3.20 digs and 0.60 blocks/game while Rhoads averaged 3.13 kills and 1.47 blocks/game and had a .381 attack percentage.
"We fought back in the fifth game but it was too little too late," head coach Lyndsey Benson said. "We were extremely tired but that cannot be an excuse for us."
Northern Colorado had played at 3 p.m. local time on Saturday and had to come back and play just over two hours later. LIU had played in the morning session and had more of a rest period.
"We fought hard, we just did not make the adjustments with our blocking and serve-receive tonight," Benson added. "We got away with that in the earlier match but couldn't with LIU. LIU will be a tournament team and is very good on their home court. We let this one slip away and we will wish we could have it back at some point this season."
Long Island won the first game by two points, pulling away after the match was tied at 25. Game two was tied most of the way, including at 29-29 on a kill by Meredith Alder. A set error by the Blackbirds gave the Bears a 31-30 lead and Dani Veal ended the set with a kill.
LIU led most of the third set but UNC pulled to within one at 28-27 on an attack error by the home team. But a pair of kills by Martina Wagner put Long Island ahead 2-1 in the match. The Blackbirds used that set victory to open up a 10-5 lead to open the fourth set. But Northern Colorado stormed back and grabbed a lead at 19-18 on a LIU attack error. After that set was tied at 21, Rhoads and Corrinne Chapin had a block assist and Wiggins had a kill to propel the team to a fifth and deciding set.
Once again LIU went ahead 10-5, opening up the deciding set strong. Veal had a pair of kills to put the team back in the contest but it was not enough as Wagner had a kill to end the match and give her team the championship.
Wiggins finished the match with 17 kills and 20 digs while Rhoads added 14 kills and seven blocks. Chapin had another solid match, registering five kills, 50 assists, 22 digs and six blocks. Libero Abby Mayne had 18 digs and Courtney Bourret added 12 digs.
Long Island was led by 27 kills and 27 digs from Tournament MVP Lizelle Jackson while Wagner added 26 kills and 21 digs.
The loss snapped a five-match winning streak for the Bears who are now 2-3 this season on opponent's home courts. The five-set match was the second of the year for the Bears.
Northern Colorado hits the road next weekend to play a pair of Division I Independents in South Dakota State (Oct. 7, 6 p.m. MT) and North Dakota State (Oct. 8, 6 p.m. MT).
Final Tournament Standings
Long Island, 4-0
Northern Colorado, 3-1
Florida Atlantic, 2-2
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 0-4
Lizelle Jackson, LIU (MVP)
Martina Wagner, LIU
Jade Gold, LIU
Amanda Wiggins, Northern Colorado
Lizzy Rhoads, Northern Colorado
Kelly Paiva, Florida Atlantic
Mikki Hogg, Iona
Amber Pippen, Texas A&M- Corpus Christi