Castine, ME - In the second semi-final match of the NAC Playoffs Friday night, it looked as though the #3 Seeded UMPI Owls might be ready to upset #2 SUNY Canton as UMPI jumped out to a 4 to 1 lead early in the first set before the Kangaroos tied up the match at 7 to 7. Devine Hoskie (Jr. Shonto, AZ) then had a block at the net and a score for UMPI, followed by a point from Ashlon Stroub (So. Bakersfield, CA). Moments later Laura Aroz (Jr. Tucson, AZ) set up Hoskie for a kill and Me-Presque Isle had gained a 14 to 10 advantage. UMPI would continue over the next several minutes to play well and force a number of SUNY Canton errors while grabbing a 20 to 14 lead and it appeared the Owls were ready to take the 1st set. After a SUNY time out, the Kangaroos went on an incredible run and scored 11 points in a row to change the tide of the entire match. Six footer Melissa McMaster would tally a point on a kill, another on a block, and then a third point on a soft touch score just over the UMPI front line in the run by SUNY Canton. UMPI would also have several costly errors late in the 1st set that would hurt them as they lost the opener 20 to 25.
The quick change in how the match was going seemed to stun the Owls who were looking to get out to a strong start against the New York Team that beat them 3 to 0 during the regular season. The Owls grabbed a 1 to 0 lead to open the 2nd set before the Kangaroos, behind the serves from junior Marissa Ixtiahuac, would gain early control and take a 9 to 3 lead. UMPI would continue to try to fight back but once again, McMaster would record several kills and SUNY Canton would prevail in the 2nd set 25 to 15.
In set number 3, the Owls looked to regain some momentum working hard to extend the match and were tied 2 to 2 early on. An assist by Laura Aroz to Miranda Washinawatok (So. Shawano, WI) for the kill, slowed a Kangaroo run briefly. However, the North Atlantic Conference 2nd place Regular Season Team would then open a gap between the two squads and despite several comeback attempts by the Owls, SUNY Canton had an answer each time. A Me-Presque Isle error would allow the 24th point of the set for the Kangaroos and Marissa Ixtiahuac would finalize the victory with a score to an open area of the court and SUNY Canton would find themselves advancing to the NAC Finals.
Laura Aroz finished the Match with 12 assists for the University of Maine at Presque Isle Owls while teammate Devine Hoskie totaled 16 digs along with 3 kills. Maddi Tweatt (So. Middleton, ID) had 10 digs and 3 kills and Miranda Washinawatok recorded 10 digs and 4 kills.
The UMPI Owls finished their season at (10-17) while SUNY Canton now stands at (14-12). The Kanaroos will face #1 Seed Maine Maritime Saturday at 12:00PM at Smith Gymnasium on the campus of MMA for the NAC Championship. The Mariners defeated Husson University 25-14, 25-13 and 25-17.