Hunter Wins 12th Straight with Sweep of NJCU


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Jersey City, N.J. - Hunter College hit .300 as a team with 53 kills as the Hawks won their 12th consecutive match, fending off a challenge from New Jersey City University, 3-0 (31-29, 30-17, 31-29) in a non-divisional North East Collegiate Volleyball Association Metro Division on Thursday at the John J. Moore Athletics and Fitness Center.

The win for Hunter gave fifth year head coach Ray Bello, a 2003 graduate of the school, his 100th career victory (100-52) since he took over the program in 2004.

Hunter improved to 19-3 overall (11-0 NECVA CUNYAC), winning its 12th straight match since last losing on February 7, while posting a victory in 16 of its last 17 matches. Of those 16 wins, 12 have been 3-0 sweeps. With the loss, NJCU falls to 11-13 (4-2 NECVA Metro), losing its third straight and its sixth in seven outings.

Hunter leads the all-time series, 12-10, and snapped NJCU's five-match winning streak in the two-decade rivalry. The two 31-29 setbacks marked the ninth time this season, NJCU has forced an opponent past regulation in a game. The Knights are 5-4 overall in games pushed in overtime.

In defeat for NJCU, junior middle hitter KEVIN RODGERS (Clifton, NJ/Clifton) smacked a match-high 15 kills (15-5-41), hit .244 and landed two aces.

Hunter freshman outside hitter Wojciech Jakubiak (Poland/Grover Cleveland) matched Rodgers with 15 kills and a .303 percentage (15-5-33), adding seven digs. Sophomore setter Zacarias Ripoll (Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic/John F. Kennedy) had 38 assists, seven digs and five kills. Freshman middle blocker Eryk Kowalski (Poland/Environmental Studies) added a .412 attack rate on nine kills (9-2-17) and freshman Pablo Oliveira (Uberlândia, Brazil/Newcomers), a five-time CUNYAC Division Rookie of the Week, tallied nine kills (9-6-28, .107) and eight digs.

For NJCU, Rodgers was the only player with more than eight kills. Freshman setter JUSTIN BEAUMONT (Bayonne, NJ/Bayonne) had 28 assists, eight digs and two blocks but NJCU hit just .084 overall and had 33 kills. Sophomore libero FELIPE SIQUEIRA (Newark, NJ/Science) tallied a match-high 13 digs.

Also for NJCU, junior middle blocker SCOTT MODZELEWSKI (Monroe, NJ/Monroe Township) finished with three blocks. Junior opposite THIAGO SIQUEIRA (Newark, NJ/Science) had nine digs.

With game one tied 9-9, NJCU gained control, and moved in front by five (19-14). The upset-minded Knights gained a 28-24 cushion, but Hunter unleashed a 7-1 run to cap game one, surviving for an over-time 31-29 win. Jakubiak had three critical kills to tie the game at 28-28. It remained 29-29 after each team traded attack errors, but Jakubiak and Ripoll had consecutive winners to seal the game.

Hunter opened a 20-9 lead in game two and never looked back, gaining a 2-0 lead in the match. Hunter again opened a big lead in game three. A kill by sophomore opposite Marcin Polak (Brooklyn, NY/Fort Hamilton) gave the Hawks a 25-19 advantage, and a winner by Jakubiak increased the margin to 27-22 and 28-24.

NJCU attempted a furious comeback bid, eventually tying the game at 29-29 off a 5-1 spurt. Rodgers had a kill for 28-25 and posted a solo block to even the game at 28-28, after Thiago Siqueira and freshman middle blocker SHAWN McCORMICK (North Brunswick, NJ/North Brunswick) stuffed an attempt on the previous point. Oliveira and Siqueira traded kills, and it was knotted at 29-29, but Oliveira put Hunter ahead to stay with another winner, and an attack error on match point allowed the Hawks to seal it 31-29.

NJCU's road gets even harder on Saturday, March 8 at 2 p.m. In the final home match of the 2008 season, the Knights host new Metro Division foe Vassar College (16-5, 7-0 Metro), winners of nine straight, and the current #1 ranked team in the 39-team conference in the last two polls. The Brewers are ranked No. 4 in Division III. Hunter next plays in a divisional tri-match against York College and Brooklyn College on March 8.

Article courtesy of New Jersey City athletics.

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