The LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds have now won back-to-back Northeast Conference championships and eight out of the last 10 after they beat Central Connecticut in three straight sets, 25-12, 25-19, 25-14, in Downtown Brooklyn on Sunday. Their eight titles are most in the NEC’s history.
The win capped off a dominant season by the Blackbirds as they finished with a 23-7 record overall including a perfect 14-0 record in NEC play. They have now won 32 consecutive NEC games in a row going back to the 2011 season.
Just like they have all season, the Blackbirds were led by Annika Foit as she led the game with 18 kills. Vera Djuric had 41 assists, Adriana Vinas Joy had 17 digs and Jessica Rice and Nicole Okeke each had five blocks.
Things actually didn’t go well early as Central Connecticut grabbed a quick 1-0 lead to start the first set. That was just one of three times CCSU would lead all day long though as Tamara Ignjic and Okeke had back-to-back kills to take a 2-1 lead. CCSU briefly tied it again at 2-2, but it was a wrap after that as Foit helped to build up the lead to 7-4 and then went on a 7-0 run to make it 14-5. The Blackbirds finished with a 6-0 run to win the first set.
The Blackbirds flexed their muscle again to start the second set as they grabbed a quick 9-1 lead. CCSU had a brief run where they went 7-1 and got to within four points of the lead, but the Blackbirds finished with a 5-3 run to finish the set.
The third set was almost perfect in the sense that Foit started it off with an attack error that tied the game at 1-1, but managed to finish it off with the last three kills to win the final set and take the match.
After the win, Djuric was named the NEC Tournament MVP and she and Foit were named to the All-Tournament team.
The win means that the Blackbirds will move on to the NCAA Tournament. Selection for that tourney won’t be made until Dec. 1, which will be aired live on ESPNU at 9:30 p.m., and the it doesn’t begin until Dec. 5.