Bears Win ECAC Championship

NEW LONDON, Conn.--(11/12/11)--Tournament Most Outstanding Player Karen Matic had a career-high 17 kills to go with 12 digs and a team-high 25 assists leading top-seeded Coast Guard to the ECAC Division III New England Championship with a 3-1 win over second-seeded Plymouth State.

Coast Guard, which completed the season with a perfect 13-0 record at home, won its fourth ECAC Championship and second in three years. The Bears also won the ECAC Championship in 2002, 2005 and 2009. The Bears beat Plymouth State 3-1 in the 2009 ECAC Championship game in Plymouth, New Hampshire.

The Bears, who finish the season 26-6, won by game scores of 23-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-18. Plymouth State, playing in its third ECAC Championship game in the last four seasons, finished 25-11. The Panthers won the 2008 ECAC Championship.

The Panthers led the opening game 13-7 before the Bears closed the gap to 16-15 with an 8-3 run. Coast Guard took its first lead at 20-19 before the Panthers ran off four straight for a 23-20 lead. The Bears scored three straight to tie the score 23-23 before Plymouth scored the next two for the 25-23 win.

Coast Guard evened things in the second game as the Bears scored five straight to open up a 17-11 lead and won 25-17.

The Bears appeared to be cruising to a 2-1 lead up 19-11 in the third set before the Panthers behind the serving of sophomore Kaitlyn Tedeschi scored ten straight for a 21-19 lead. Coast Guard battled back to tie it at 22-22 and with the score tied 23-23 a service error followed by an ace by freshman Kelsey Hickle gave the Bears the 25-23 win.

Plymouth scored five straight to take a 9-4 lead in the fourth set before Coast Guard quickly responded with five straight of their own to tie it at 9-9.

The Bears later scored four straight to take an 18-14 lead enroute to the 25-18 win.

Matic had ten kills and a team-high 14 assists in the 3-0 semifinal win over fourth-seeded Keene State earlier in the day for Coast Guard.

Sophomore Kelsey DePorto had 14 kills, seven digs and a team-high six blocks, junior Keriann Mason added ten kills and 15 digs while Catherine Walker finished with eight kills and 11 digs.

Sophomore Sam Marmolejo had a match-high 28 digs for the Bears while freshman Elise Sako added 15 assists and nine digs in the win.

Sophomore Allie Jones led the Panthers with 17 kills and four aces while junior Casey Stoodley added ten kills and 17 digs. Senior Danielle Stoodley led the way with 21 digs while classmate Sarah Cady closed out her career with a match-high 37 assists.

The Panthers advanced to the championship match with a come-from-behind 3-2 win over third-seeded Endicott in the semifinals earlier in the day.

Coast Guard, the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular season co-champions, were making their 10th postseason appearance in the last 11 years, eight of those in the ECAC tournament.
 

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