The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

Mavs Volleyball Stuns No. 2 New Haven In NCAA Tourney

Mercy Defeats Chargers For First NCAA Tournament Win In 22 Years

GARDEN CITY, NY – The Mavericks pulled the unthinkable on Thursday afternoon. 

The seventh-seeded women’s volleyball squad walked into Adelphi for their first NCAA Tournament game in 18 years and stunned second-seeded New Haven, 3-1, in an upset to advance to the second round.

A loss to Molloy in the ECC semi-final left scar tissue on the program. It stirred a bit of uncertainty for what was next, which was a scary feeling for the four seniors who were playing on borrowed time. Tomorrow wasn’t guaranteed, and that message was disseminated.

After a week to reflect, the Mavs took the court with fearlessness against the high-powered Chargers. Ana Todorovic’s senior leadership reflected in the team’s poise in the game, who weathered any New Haven momentum they faced all afternoon. 

Their resiliency ultimately won them the match, coming back from a 14-10 deficit to win the third set, 25-20, giving them a 2-1 set lead heading into set four. A loss in set three could have put Mercy on life alert. This moment was where they had them beat. And they knew it.

Larissa Schneid was well accounted for against Molloy, and that was an adjustment the Mavericks had to make heading into their contest versus New Haven. It was up to the ECC Setter of the Year, Yarianne Gonzalez, to win this game by feeding her other talented targets, and she did just that.

Gonzalez was in a groove with Julia Pomerleau all game long, connecting with the middle hitter for 17 kills against the Chargers. Pomerleau was the catalyst that New Haven didn’t have a response for, showing another power dynamic this team possesses. 

Schneid fit into the No. 2 role soundly, crushing 15 kills and adding a team-high 15 digs. Yarianne Gonzalez, who finished with an impressive 48 assists, was brilliant in keeping the Chargers honest from overplaying the ECC Player of the Year. 

New Haven found out the hard way that Mercy has weapons all over their front court.

Tanializ Rivera and Anyelainy Vizcaino were also very effective in their minutes played, combining for 18 kills. The added firepower from these two has elevated the team offensively, providing Gonzalez with plenty of mouths to nourish.

There’s much to give credit towards the defensive side as well, who held Northeast 10 Player of the Year Macy Brown to only 11 kills on the day with six attacking errors, the most in her last six games. The Mavericks out-blocked the Chargers 7-4, neutralizing a powerful group of hitters for New Haven.

In only her second season, Ana Todorovic has taken Mercy volleyball to new heights. The Mavs have now won their most games in a season since 2005, and their first NCAA Tournament game since 2001. It beats asking the question:

What is the identity of an Ana Todorovic coached team?

If she hasn’t proven it already, it may be fairly obvious. It’s a team that’s deeply rooted; one that plays for each other. All while enjoying the fun of the game in the process. These ladies have played with elated smiles on their faces all season long, and it’s translated on the record sheet.

The team rediscovered that enjoyment today. The pressure of the big stage was invisible to them the entirety of the game, and that has much to do with the coach leading the program. 

Another courageous, defensive effort will be the recipe to taking down third-seeded Bentley in the second round. The Falcons placed two hitters on the Northeast 10 First Team, Ingrid Murphy and Ellie Wheeler, who each have over 250 kills on the year. Knowing the horsepower Mercy also has in their frontcourt, audiences may be in for an offensive lightshow tomorrow night.

Bentley’s last loss came in the NE10 semi-final against New Haven, which they were defeated 3-1. Now while the transitive property doesn’t work in the sports world, there should be added belief to this squad.

Maintaining their humble confidence will be the key for Ana Todorovic to claw her team to the Sweet 16, but after Thursday’s performance, it’s safe to feel confident in the second-year head coach. She has earned that from the Mercy community.

A historic season it has already been, but the Mavericks aren’t interested in consolation prizes. Today granted them another chance to throw on their uniform and more importantly, another day to play amongst each other. As one unit. As one family. The most important reason they play.

Something they’re not going to give up one more of without having a say about it.

Mercy will play Bentley in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Friday evening at 5 p.m.

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About the Contributor
TJ Heyder
TJ Heyder, Sports Editor
TJ Heyder is a fifth year Media Studies major at Mercy, with a passion for sports journalism. TJ has become a main beat writer covering Mercy athletics in his time writing for The Impact. He’s also a current member of the Men’s Lacrosse team for the Mavericks.  He writes a college sports based column titled "Around The Net,” with a sharp focus on The Ohio State Buckeyes.  He can be reached at [email protected]  

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