Second-seeded Neumann University advanced to the Colonial States Athletic Conference volleyball championship match with a three-set victory over fourth-seeded Keystone College in a CSAC semifinal on Thursday night.
Neumann (16-21) played at top-seeded Cabrini University (28-6), who advanced by defeating No. 6 Notre Dame of Maryland University in Thursday’s other semifinal contest.
The Giants end the 2017 campaign with a 14-17 overall record after making their third straight trip to the semifinal round.
Keystone took a 9-6 lead in Thursday’s opening set before Neumann countered with the next four points to claim a 10-9 edge.
Tied at 11-11, the Knights scored the game’s next three points to take a 14-11 advantage.
The Giants pulled to within a single point three times, but Neumann pulled away with a 25-20 win in the opening set.
The two sides went point-for-point to start the second set before Neumann went on a 5-0 run to claim a 16-11 advantage.
Keystone cut its deficit to three points, but the Knights would go on to win the frame 25-18 to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Leading 11-8 in the third set, Neumann rattled off 10-straight points to open up a comfortable 21-8 lead before closing out the sweep with a 25-12 victory in the third game.
Neumann hit .347 as a team in the victory.
Tunkhannock grad and sophomore Amanda Hardy paced Keystone with six kills while sophomore Malley Bowen and junior Kristen Larkin added five kills apiece.
Bowen also led the squad with 16 assists and nine digs while junior Victoria Homfeld added eight digs for the Giants, who hit .095 in the season-ending defeat
Bowen, Larkin and freshman Erika Schwoyer each served up aces for the visitors.
Senior Nicki Yeager totaled six digs in the final game of her collegiate career while sophomore Shannon Monahan had one kill and three digs.
The Giants advanced to the semifinals with a thrilling five-set triumph over Immaculata University on Tuesday (Oct. 31).
Bowen set a Keystone single-match record with 57 assists and also broke the Giants’ single-season record for assists, surpassing Carol Mosier’s previous single season program record of 804 in 2013.
The sophomore setter ended up with 858 helpers this fall.
Immaculata (9-12) took a 12-7 lead in the first set before Keystone went on a 7-1 run to claim a 14-13 edge.
The Mighty Macs would go back in front by three points, but the Giants surged in front 23-22 before the visitors knotted the set up.
Keystone would prevail though, winning the set 26-24 with a service ace by Yeager to give the hosts the 1-0 lead.
In the second set, the Giants staked out a 10-6 advantage, but Immaculata countered with the next four points to level the frame up at 10-apiece.
Bowen recorded her record-breaking assist as Keystone took a 15-14 edge, but the Mighty Macs scored four of the next five points to take an 18-15 lead.
The Giants pulled to within a single point four times the rest of the frame, but Immaculata held on for a 25-23 decision to level the match at 1-1.
In game three, Keystone held the early advantage to Immaculata was able to forge ahead, 18-14.
The Giants came back to tie the set at 19-19, but the Mighty Macs went up 22-19 with the next three points.
Keystone countered with a 4-0 run to take a 23-22 edge. Immaculata tallied the final three points of the set though to take a 2-1 advantage in the match with another 25-23 set win.
The Giants came out strong in the fourth set, scoring the first four points before opening up a 15-7 advantage.
The hosts upped the lead to 19-9 and would cruise to a 25-17 victory to set up the decisive fifth set.
Trailing 4-3 early in the fifth game, Keystone reeled off six straight points to build a 9-4 lead.
The Mighty Macs countered with three of the next four points to pull to within 10-7.
The two teams traded a pair of points each before a Larkin kill put the Giants up 13-9.
The visitors pulled to within three points at 14-11 before another kill by Larkin ended the match and sent Keystone into the conference semifinals for the third straight year.
Hardy led Keystone with 16 kills on the night, Larkin put down 15 kills and junior Taylor Beatty contributed 14 kills.
Freshman Nicole Frascati came up big off the bench in the final two sets, totaling seven kills in the final two frames to help lift the Giants to the win.
Homfeld picked up a match-high 25 digs to lead five Keystone players in double-figure digs.
Larkin collected 19 digs, Yeager had 11 digs, and Bowen and Schwoyer added 10 digs apiece.
Yeager served up a match-best four aces for the hosts while Homfeld added three aces in the win.
Keystone hit .228 as a team in the victory.