The Terriers were firing all on cylinders, and by all accounts appeared poised to defeat the Blackbirds for the first time in years.
And for the second consecutive Saturday, the Terriers continued their valiant efforts and constant fight, only to ultimately lose to their inner-borough rivals in four sets, the final three of which were tallied at 25-21, 25-11 and 25-16 respectively.
After controlling the entire first game from set-to-set action, the Terriers could never recapture their early match-up magic.
In the second set, the Terriers remained highly competitive with the Blackbirds, even marching out to forceful 14-10 and 17-12 leads respectively. With a 6-1 scoring advantage despite a Terrier timeout midway through, the Blackbirds tied the second set at 18 apiece.
The Terriers continued to hold off LIU-Brooklyn just enough to maintain a tight lead late in the set, forcing an LIU-Brooklyn timeout while trailing SFC, 21-19. Emerging from the timeout, LIU-Brooklyn capped it off with six unanswered points, evening up the contest with a 25-21 game victory.
In the following two sets, the Blackbirds returned to their natural form as an NEC power, outpointing SFC, 50-27, over the course of the remainder of the match, finishing off St. Francis three sets to one.
With the victory, LIU-Brooklyn improved to (5-11, 2-1 NEC) on the season, while the Terriers fall to (6-13, 1-2).
Senior opposite hitter Alex Larsen proved to be problematic for the Terriers in the afternoon, leading the Blackbirds with a game-high 16 kills. Junior outside hitter Alexandria Lilliquist added 13 kills and 13 digs for the Blackbirds.
First-year players also played a vital role in the Blackbird win. Freshman libero Natalia Rivera posted a game-best 26 digs, and setter Amanda Hubbard added a match-high 44 assists on the afternoon.
Although the Terriers did come up short in terms of the end result, the ladies donning the red-and-blue did not provide a shortage of big time performances against their Brooklyn counterpart.
Senior outside hitter Domenique Gerard led the Terriers with 14 kills and finished second on the team with 16 digs. The 2015 All-Conference athlete now has a Terrier-high 187 kills on the season.
Junior Aleksandra Gilgoric, who entered with a team-best 2.67 kills per set, added nine kills. Sophomore libero Mireya Ramirez recorded a team-high 18 digs, and freshman setter Macy Kurtz posted a squad-best 34 assists.
A win would’ve awarded the Terriers’ their seventh win for the year, tying their 2015 season total.
The Terriers will return to action next weekend for a western Pennsylvania road trip to face Robert Morris University on Saturday and Saint Francis University on Sunday. The Blackbirds will be on the same road swing, but they’ll take on SFU on Saturday, ending the weekend at Robert Morris on Sunday. All games will be available on NEC Front Row.
Follow Bryan Fonseca on Twitter at @BryanFonsecaNY.