NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The top-seeded College of New Rochelle Women's Volleyball are champions once again. The team won the 2015 Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship Sunday afternoon over #2 Culinary Institute by a 3-0 margin. The win marks the third straight league title the Blue Angels have brought home to New Rochelle.
After running the table (4-0) in the regular season, the Blue Angels were awarded the right to host the league championships and didn't let the home crowd down. In front of a large and loud CNR crowd, the Blue Angels won their semi-final contest over The Kings College (NY) by a 3-0 margin (25-20, 25-10, 25-11). Culinary was able to make the final after getting by a pesky Pratt Institute by scores of 25-12, 26-24, 16-25, and 25-19.
The final started off good for the Steels as they jumped out to a quick 4-1 lead over CNR. But, the Blue Angels were able to tie the game at 8-8 and then take their first lead (11-8) behind the serve of sophomore Caitlin Harrison (Bronx, NY). CNR would never trail again, as a key 5-0 run on the serve of junior Melanie Ann Lopez Soto (Gurabo, PR) pushed the lead to 16-10. The Steels were able to keep within six points until late in the frame when Harrison served the final three points, highlighted by the game point kill of sophomore Tamara Beckford (Bronx, NY).
After starting the 2nd with a 5-2 lead, CNR sophomore Rosa Angeles (Yonkers, NY) launched CNR to a 12-2 lead. Her seven straight serves was the longest serve series of the game and proved critical as the Steels answered with six straight points of their own to make it 12-8. With the score 14-9, sophomore Fabiola Padilla Rios (San Juan, PR) more than matched the Steels run. On her next six serves, she recorded three aces and two kills to blow open the lead and help CNR to the eventual 25-15 win.
In the final game, freshmen Stephanie Garcia (Chino, CA) got in a service streak of her own. Her three straight points, which included a key kill by junior Tiany Perez Diaz (Gurabo, PR) pushed CNR out to a 7-2 lead, one that the Steels tried, but, could not answer. Despite twice bringing the match to a tie at 9-9 and 10-10, Culinary was never able to grab the lead the rest of the way.
Padilla Rios led all players with 15 kills and four aces, while Beckford added 11 kills and three solo blocks. Lopez Soto ended the game with 31 assists while Garcia and Angeles did most of the work on defense with 13 and 12 digs, respectively.
During post-game ceremonies, Lopez Soto was honored as the HVIAC Womens Volleyball Tournament MVP. She also was honored as the HVIAC Co-Player of the Year. Padilla Rios, Perez Diaz, and Lopez Soto were all First-Team All Conference selections. CNR head coach Alyssa Kaufman was also selected as the Coach of the Year.