Poultney, VT- A double win weekend left the Fisher Falcons (17-11) with not only two wins, but a NIAC Championship title. The Falcons defeated Paul Smith's College (13-8) 3-0 before vanquishing hosts Green Mountain College (9-11) 3-1 and taking home the hardware for the first time in school history.
The afternoon saw Fisher first take on Paul Smith's College as their lead-in match before the championship match-up. The first set was the tightest battle of the afternoon with Paul Smith and the Falcons battling back and forth. Fisher jumped out to an early lead and looked to be charging toward a quick first set victory behind the service of freshman Chyna Carter (Avondale, AZ) before Paul Smith's managed to close the gap with a number of service aces. The Falcons banded together to stem the wave and managed to close out the first set 25-23. After a tight first set put Fisher on their heels, the second set saw them going full charge ahead behind the dominant play of senior captain Natie Manalo (San Francisco, CA), whose 24 assists and killer serve helped them close out the set 25-10. The third set looked to be a chance for Paul Smith's to get back on track, jumping out to a quick 3-0 lead before Fisher's freshman Yeryvel Catala (Gurabo, PR) and sophomore Lia Aime (Las Piedras, PR) combined for the first points. Carter had a stellar third set service leading to six unanswered points by Paul Smith's, from there the Falcons fed off the momentum and charged ahead for the 25-16 victory.
The first match of the day found Fisher a .104% kill percentage and 47 digs to match their 47 points. Manalo led the charge with 24 assists and a kill percentage of .667%. Sophomore Maura Lammers (Atlanta, GA) and Carter tallied 14 and 16 points respectively in the match with Lammers taking 5 services aces and a .250% kill percentage on the afternoon.
The momentum from the afternoon match up was just the priming needed before taking on conference rival Green Mountain College for the NIAC Championship. The Falcons jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead before the Eagles were able to find a hole in the defense and grab needed points. Catala took over Fisher, delivering four straight service aces to extend the lead. The Eagles were forced onto the defensive and left calling a quick timeout. Fisher refused to rest and extended the lead to as much as 11 points in the set before a true team effort closed out the set 25-14.
The second set found fatigue settle in for Fisher allowing Green Mountain College to make a tight match of the second set. Neither team was able to jump too far ahead before they were sided out. While the Falcons began the set in the lead, the two teams were able to tie the game 10 times before Green Mountain was finally able to grab the two point lead needed to close out the second set with an Eagles 26-24 victory and the first set victory taken off the Falcons all season.
The third set looked to be a repeat of the second with each team rallying it out for every point on the board. With the score tied up at 8-8, Lammers and Catala served Fisher into a 9-3 point run and a wave of momentum that would carry Fisher to the conclusion of the set.
The fourth set saw Fisher jump out to a quick lead behind the arms of Catala and Carter. Green Mountain attempted to hold on during the offensive onslaught of the Falcons but eventually succumbed to the Fisher's team play, falling 25-9, handing the championship to Fisher.
Catala was named MVP of the match for her dominating play resulting in 20 kills, 23 digs and six aces in the game. Manalo closed out her senior season with the Offensive MVP honors for her 32 assists. Lammers notched nine kills alongside fellow sophomore Lia Aime's 20 digs.
Fisher closed out the season with a new team record of 17 wins and their first NIAC Championship.