Volleyball Stuns Top-Seeded Stockton to Advance to NJAC Final
Galloway, NJ – Since Montclair State has been playing women's volleyball no team has been tougher for the Red Hawks than Stockton University where MSU had won just three of 51 all-time meetings with two of those wins coming in the semifinals of the New Jersey Athletic Conference Tournament. Make that number three now. In a complete reversal of their regular-season meeting, Montclair dropped the first set but roared back to win the final three as the fourth-seeded Red Hawks stunned the top-seeded Ospreys to advance to the conference championship match. Montclair State will meet third-seeded Kean University in the NJAC Championship Match on Saturday, November 3 at Harwood Arena in Union, NJ in a 1pm matchup. The winner claims not only the league crown but also an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship. The Red Hawks will make their third finals appearance in the last four seasons and look to earn its fourth conference title having captured titles in 1997, 2007 and 2016. Freshman CARLY WATERMAN registered 16 kills leading four Red Hawks in double figures as MSU lost the first set 25-18 before storming back with 25-18, 25-20 and 25-22 in the final three. Junior CAITLIN LANGE added 14 kills and five blocks with NATALIA MAJKUT and LEAH HIGGINS posting 12 kills apiece. Montclair fell behind 3-0 in the opening set and tailed 12-5 before scoring five straight to pull within 12-10 on a Higgins kill. Stockton answered with five of the next six points building a 17-11 lead and pushed it to 22-16. After an MSU point, the Ospreys got the next two and a service error by Montclair on set points gave a 25-18 victory and a 1-0 lead. The second set started the same way with the Ospreys getting the first three points. Montclair rebounded with six in a row, the last two on kills by Waterman to take the lead 6-4. The two went back and forth over the next several points with MSU taking a 16-11 advantage on a kill by JILLIAN WILSON. Waterman and Wilson put up consecutive kills with two Stockton errors increasing the lead to 21-13. Makjut picked up the 24th point and then combined on a block with Lange as the Red Hawks squared the match with a 25-18 win. Montclair would trail 16-15 in the third set before a three-point run vaulted MSU back into the lead. After trading points, the Red Hawks ripped off five in a row taking advantage of four Stockton hitting errors for a 23-17 advantage. Lange got a kill to make the score 24-19 with Waterman putting down the final point for a 25-20 victory as Montclair State led 2-1. The fourth set started out like the first two with Montclair falling behind 3-0 and later trailed 8-2. The deficit was 16-10 before MSU scored six straight to tie things up. Wilson had three kills and Higgins two in the spurt. The Ospreys scored next however Higgins answered with a kill and Lange registered block and kill giving the Red Hawks a 19-17 lead. Stockton would tie things up at 20-20 but Montclair recorded the next three points for a 23-20 advantage. Waterman brought MSU within a point of victory with a kill but a service error by the Red Hawks kept the set going. Majkut ended the match with her 12th kill sending the Red Hawks to the conference final.