Brooklyn, N.Y. - One year after taking down Long Island in the Northeast Conference (NEC) Semifinals at a neutral venue, the Robert Morris University volleyball team was unable to pull off the feat for a second-consecutive season as the Colonials dropped a three-set match to the top-seeded Blackbirds in the rubber match between the teams Saturday afternoon at the Wellness Center.
Although it saw its season come to an end, Robert Morris has now competed in each of the last 13 NEC Tournaments, extending the league's longest active streak.
Senior captain Hannah Veith (Columbus, Ohio / Worthington) tied for the team high with seven kills and hit .333 in her final match in a Colonial uniform. She finished the season with a .375 hitting percentage, the second-highest such mark ever at RMU, while also ranking 10th in single-season kills with 369. Veith also tallied 134 blocks in 2011, the fourth-highest total in single-season history, and notched 288 in her final two seasons combined.
Junior Lindsey Monger (Rising Sun, Md. / Rising Sun) concluded her all-conference season with a match-high 13 digs, her 24th double-digit dig performance of the year, and six kills, moving her past 800 for her career. She finished the campaign with 391 kills, which ranks seventh in the RMU single-season record book, and a career-high 385 digs.
Freshman Hannah Hoffman (Parker, Colo. / Ponderosa) came close to tallying a double-double as she registered a team-high 25 assists along with eight digs. The rookie completed the year with 1,168 assists, which places her sixth in single-season school history, while also recording 219 digs and 91 kills.
Robert Morris knocked off Long Island on the road earlier this season in four sets, but the Colonials, who had five freshmen competing in the postseason for the first time, could not take down the Blackbirds for a second time.
After the teams evenly split the first 10 points of the opening set, Long Island used a 13-3 run to break the game wide open. The Colonials could get no closer than eight the rest of the way as the hosts won the opener, 25-13.
Robert Morris fought back in the beginning of the second set as it took nine of the first 14 points to take a four-point edge. Long Island began to battle its way back, though, and the Blackbirds would take the lead for good with a 5-0 run that began when RMU led 12-10. The Colonials were able to cut the lead to two on a pair of occasions but could not sustain their strong start and dropped the set by seven.
Long Island grabbed each of the first four points of the third game to take an early edge. The Colonials cut the lead to a single point four different times but were never able to pull even. With the hosts leading by only three at 15-12, the Blackbirds used a 10-2 run to seal the match.
Freshman Erica Robb (Novi, Mich. / Novi) tied Veith for team-high honors with seven kills.
Veith, who garnered First Team All-NEC awards in each of the past two seasons along with a National Player of the Week honor this past September, will depart Robert Morris as one of the most accomplished student-athletes in program history. She became just the second Colonial ever to hit above .335 for a career as her .354 career percentage has only been topped once previously. She registered 1,048 kills, eighth all-time, and 422 blocks, third all-time, and is one of just three Colonials to top both 1,000 kills and 400 blocks in her time at RMU. Veith played in 428 sets, tied for seventh all-time, and also holds RMU's single-season total block record of 154 that she set in her junior season.
While Veith's departure will create a large hole for RMU to fill, she was the only senior on a very young Colonial roster this season. Five RMU freshmen that saw action in over 50 percent of the team's sets will enter the 2012 season with a year under their belts as the squad vies for the Colonials' 14th-straight NEC Tournament berth.
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