NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. — Regular season champion and top seed The College of New Rochelle completed an unblemished season defeating No. 2 seed Pratt Institute in straight sets to claim the 2016 Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference women's volleyball championship on Saturday evening at the CNR Wellness Center.
The Blue Angels (20-9, 4-0 HVIAC) capture their fourth straight HVIAC title and sixth overall without dropping a set to a league foe all season. The victory also extends CNR’s win streak in league and tournament play to 23 matches dating back to the 2013 season.
Imani Debose (Carson, Calif.) was named Tournament MVP leading all attackers with 21 kills over the tournament hitting a blistering .363 along with four blocks. The freshman outside hitter was also named Rookie of the Year in the post-game ceremonies for her play throughout the regular season.
Behind 13 kills and .458 hitting from Debose, CNR cruised past No. 4 Davis in their semifinal to earn a spot in the title game.
Meanwhile, No. 2 Pratt reversed the result of last year’s semifinal against No. 3 Culinary Institute of America. The Cannoneers took the first two sets with relative ease before Culinary came back to take set three, and Pratt closed out the match in four, setting up a rematch of the 2014 title game—one that New Rochelle needed five sets to claim the second title in their streak.
The championship game saw the potent New Rochelle attack combine for 27 kills and an overwhelming .456 hitting over the first two sets to take a commanding early lead. The Blue Angels built a five-point lead at 14-9 before Pratt came alive to win the next seven points go on top. Pratt extended built their largest lead of the match at 23-19 and seemed poised to force a fourth set and hand CNR their first set loss in conference play this season, but the Blue Angels rallied with the strength of the home crowd and stormed back to win the final six points for the title with Debose sealing the victory with a kill on championship point.
Named 2016 HVIAC Player of the Year for the second straight season, senior Melanie Lopez Soto (Gurabo, Puerto Rico) dished out 41 assists over the two games and helped direct the Blue Angel offense that hit .302 for the tournament.
Freshman Marlena Todd (Denville, N.J.) paced the Cannoneers in defeat putting down seven kills against only one error for a .353 hitting effort.
2016 HVIAC Women's Volleyball Championships
Date: Saturday, October 29, 2016
Site: The College of New Rochelle
#1 New Rochelle def. #2 Pratt, 3-0 (25-13, 25-9, 25-23) | Box
Imani Debose | New Rochelle | Fr. | Outside Hitter | Carson, Calif.
Regular Season & Tournament Champions
The College of New Rochelle