WALTHAM, Mass. – The Bentley University Falcons came as close as possible to ending the University of New Haven's 85-match regular season conference winning streak in Northeast-10 women's volleyball, but came up just short in the end, falling in five sets to the visiting Chargers Saturday afternoon at the Dana Center.
Bentley, down 2-1 in the battle of NE-10 co-leaders, came back to take the fourth, 25-17, and jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the decisive set. A kill by junior Tatiana Froehlich (Newton/Newton North HS) brought the Falcons to match-point at 14-11, but the final five points went up on the UNH side of the scoreboard, extending the Charger streak to 86.
While the outcome on the court was a disappointment for Falcon followers, the day was a success off the court as more than $10,000 was raised for rare cancer research, including new treatments for Adrenal Cortical Carcinoma, a disease that veteran Bentley coach Sandy Hoffman is afflicted with. That total included funds raised by New Haven on their Dig-Lavender Day as well as by Franklin Pierce University.
Junior middle hitter Savannah Dominguez (Miami, Fla./Palmer Trinity HS) led the Falcons with a career-high 19 kills and four digs. Sophomore Jaci Buscher (Lakewood, Colo./Green Mountain HS) followed with 16 kills and 17 digs, and Froehlich's afternoon included 13 kills, nine digs, two blocks and three aces.
Bentley junior setter Alex Tator (Los Angeles, Calif./Marlborough School) established a new career-best with 50 assists, and junior libero Lauren Colasanti (Northville, Mich./Northville HS) made 24 digs.
Six of Buscher's kills came in the opening set, won by the Falcons 25-16. Bentley was closing in on a 2-0 advantage with a 21-18 lead in the second, but the visitors battled back to prevail 25-23, evening the match. Set number three was all New Haven (25-12) with the Falcons never threatening after falling behind 8-1.
In the fourth, it was Bentley with the fast start, 9-2, and New Haven not being able to recover. Contributing to the match-tying win were Dominguez (5 kills), Buscher (4 kills), Tator (10 assists) and Colasanti (10 digs).
Six-foot-four senior Amber Cannady (Yonkers, N.Y.) was instrumental in the late New Haven comeback as she had a block and a match-ending kill during the closing burst. She finished the day with 14 kills and four blocks.
New Haven, with the win, took sole possession of first in the NE-10 while improving to 16-4 overall and 7-0 conference. Bentley's first loss in seven conference matches dropped the Falcons to 12-7 overall.
Bentley will also be at home Tuesday night, taking on Assumption College at 7:30 pm.