GARDEN CITY, NY – The Firebirds were competitive in all three sets, but the University of the District of Columbia volleyball team suffered a 3-0 sweep (25-19, 25-23, 27-25) against East Coast Conference foe LIU Post in a match played at Adelphi on Thursday night.
Defense ruled the night as District of Columbia (12-15, 5-10 ECC) had two players with over 20 digs: senior Grace Perilli (25) and freshman Jazmin Rogers (23). The Pioneers, who improved to 20-12 overall and 9-4 in the ECC, were led defensively by Rachel Ringor (22 digs) and Makamae Namahoe (16 digs).
Senior Vanessa Garley (Marketing – Rio Rancho, NM/Rio Rancho HS) and sophomore Ariana Scott (Business – Lakewood, CA/Mayfair HS) had seven kills apiece to lead the Firebirds offensively while LIU Post's Susy Cricchi tallied a match-high eight kills.
Garley got the Firebirds off to a good start with a kill, as she led the visitors on a 7-2 run to start the first set, but the Pioneers came marching back on an 8-1 run to pull in front, 10-8. Then, after District of Columbia forced a 10-all tie, LIU Post went on an 11-4 charge to take a 21-14 advantage and force a Firebirds timeout. Out of the timeout, District of Columbia the next two points to pull within five, but that was as close as the Firebirds would get as the Pioneers took the first set, 25-19.
In the second set, LIU Post built up a 16-11 lead on the strength of five kills by Cricchi, but sophomore Kamene Rose (Psychology – Chula Vista, CA/Hilltop HS) led the Firebirds came on a 10-1 run with three service aces as District of Columbia stormed back to take a 21-17 lead. But the Pioneers would answer with a 5-1 surge and knot the score at 22. Junior Tara Usko's (History – Spring Creek, NV/Spring Creek HS) kill moved the Firebirds back in front 23-22, but a District of Columbia service error followed by two consecutive kills by Namahoe resulted in a 25-23 win for the Pioneers in set two.
Scott's two early kills helped the Firebirds climb out to a 10-3 lead in set three, and the visitors later led 13-6 after a Pioneers attack error. LIU Post, regrouped and went on a 9-1 run to take its first lead of the set, 15-14 after a service ace by Rachel Ringor. District of Columbia went on to score five of the next points to take a 19-16 lead on another kill by Scott, but a Firebirds service error led to a 5-0 Pioneers charge which put the hosts back in front, 21-19. Trailing by two, District of Columbia used a 4-0 run, which included two consecutive kills by Rogers (Mechanical Engineering – Tucson, AZ/Palo Verde), and claimed a 23-21 lead. Twice the Firebirds had opportunities to win the set with leads of 24-22 and 25-24, but LIU Post snuck away with a 27-25 victory courtesy of three straight Firebirds attack errors and with it, a 3-0 match victory.
The Firebirds conclude their 2012 season with a match at ECC foe Bridgeport University tomorrow night at 6 p.m.