TUCSON, ARIZ. - Playing in its first-ever NCAA Tournament match, the Seton Hall women's volleyball team fell to #12 Brigham Young in Tucson, Ariz., in three sets (16-25, 18-25, 17-25), bringing an end to a historic season on Thursday.
Shelbey Manthorpe (Merion Station, Pa.), playing in the final match of her legendary career, finished just one dig shy of her 77th career double-double. She had a team-best 24 assists to go with nine digs, four kills and a team-best .364 attack percentage.
Stacey Manthorpe (Merion Station, Pa.) tallied a team-high 17 digs to go with six kills.
The match featured two of the better defensive teams in the nation, but their modes of defense are very different. BYU entered the contest as the top blocking team in the country, while Seton Hall was one of the best digging teams during the regular season.
Brigham Young jumped on Seton Hall right at the start of the first set. The Cougars scored seven of the first eight points, which prompted an early Pirates' timeout. The Pirates hung in early though, and a kill by Shelbey Manthorpe cut the BYU lead to 13-10. However, the Cougars took off again, scoring five of the next six points to take a commanding 18-11 advantage. A kill by Danielle Schroeder (Chicago, Ill.) cut the BYU lead to 22-16, but BYU scored the last three points of the set to win, 25-16.
BYU's blocking was predictably the factor in set one. The Cougars recorded eight blocks and held Seton Hall's attack to a negative percentage.
The Cougars started fast again in set two, scoring four of the first five points. Seton Hall however, responded in kind and a block solo by Stacey Manthorpe tied the set at seven. With the score tied at eight, BYU scored three straight to reclaim an 11-8 lead. A kill by Molly Grammer (Center Valley, Pa.) cut the Cougar lead to one point, 12-11, but Brigham Young answered with three straight to give itself some breathing room, 15-11. A kill by BYU's Amy Boswell extended their lead to 22-15. Seton Hall cut the lead to five, 22-17, but the Cougars held on to win set two, 25-18, to take a commanding two-set match lead.
The Pirates did a better job of containing BYU's blockers in set two, but alas it was the Cougars' offense which connected at a .350 attack percentage which was difficult for Seton Hall's defense to contain. The Hall's offense was significantly better in set two. The Pirates had a .235 attack percentage, compared to a -.023 in set one, but again, BYU was simply more efficient.
With the score tied at three early in the third set, BYU went on a 10-2 run to take a commanding 13-5 advantage. Trailing 17-8, Seton Hall went on a 5-0 run to cut the Cougar lead to four points. A kill by Simona Sekulova (Auckland, New Zealand) again cut the BYU lead to four, 19-15. The Pirates however, couldn't get closer than four points, and the Cougars went on to win set three, 25-17, and the match in straight sets.
The loss puts a cap on arguably the most-successful season in Seton Hall history. The Pirates' 28 overall victories are the second-most in program history, and this was the first team to ever qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Additionally, their 15 BIG EAST wins nearly doubled their prior record (eight) and two weeks ago, Seton Hall earned votes in the AVCA poll for the first time.
This Pirate team is also the first in Seton Hall history to feature three All-BIG EAST First Team selections, both Manthorpes and Tessa Fournier (Redondo Beach, Calif.), and the first to have the BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year.