NORTON, Mass. - After falling behind in the opening set, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy fought back to win to final three sets, defeating the Wheaton College Lyons 3-1 (15-25, 25-2-, 25-22, 25-19) in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Quarterfinals hosted in Emerson Gymnasium Tuesday evening.
The match was a rematch of the regular-season finale for both teams, who faced off on Saturday, Nov. 2, also in Emerson Gym, which saw Wheaton pull out a 3-0 victory.
With the win, the Coast Guard (20-9) will travel to No. 1 Babson on Thursday, Nov. 7 for the NEWMAC Tournament Semifinals, while the Lyons season comes to an end with a 19-12 overall record.
Amanda Dake led all players with 14 kills in the win, while Noelle Tursky finished with 11. Dake also pulled up a team-high 24 digs, while Mary Sweet finished with a team-high three blocks.
Wheaton was paced by eight kills from junior Casey Dinga and six from Bailey Madrzyk, Julia Palomba, and Kyra Mattera. Mattera led all players with four blocks, while Becca Houghton ended the contest with a team-high 17 digs and 24 assists.
Wheaton opened the first set on a 4-0 run, which was quickly countered by the Coast Guard, who knotted the match at 5-5, before taking a 9-5 lead. The Lyons rallied back, recapturing the lead at 13-12 on a bad set by the Bears. Wheaton kept its foot on the accelerator the rest of the match, only allowing the Bears three more points en route to a 25-15 win.
The second set saw the Bears rush out to an early lead with Angelou Dunton leading the way with three kills, giving her team a 6-2 advantage. Undeterred, the Lyons continued to fight, tying the match at 18-18 on a block by Emily Hickey and Madrzyk. The Bears responded with a Dake kill that sparked a 7-2 run to close out the set.
The momentum remained in CGA's favor in the third set with the Bears using several Wheaton errors to take an 8-3 lead. The Bears remained in control throughout much of the set. Wheaton managed to close the gap down the stretch, but would only manage to come as close as two points, dropping the set 25-22.
The final set was incredibly competitive with both sides putting together scrappy runs, but ultimately it was the Coast Guard who found a way to pull out the win.