For years, the Red Hawks have struggled to get over the hump against Stockton University with their 2019 and spring 2021 seasons ending at the hands of the Ospreys in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) tournament.
But finally, the Red Hawks have overcome their demons with a resounding 3-0 sweep of Stockton on Thursday in front of a packed house at Panzer Athletic Center, clinching a road game against Rowan University for the NJAC Championship on Saturday.
After a close first set victory by the Red Hawks, the turning point of the game came in the second set. A 10-2 run capped off by a service ace by freshman libero/defensive specialist Katie Rodman gave them a 15-6 lead in the second set, as the Red Hawks would win that same set 25-16.
In the third set, Stockton hung around for most of it. However, with senior captain Carly Waterman out for the season with an injury, senior outside hitter Leah Higgins was the anchor offensively for the Red Hawks. Higgins would deliver two huge kills late in the set, as Montclair State would finish the sweep with a 25-22 victory in the last set.
Higgins finished with eight kills, leading both teams. Senior setter/right side Delaney St. Pierre would finish with 24 assists in the game, delivering beautiful passes to her teammates the entire time.
The Red Hawks’ victory in the NJAC Semifinals marks the second straight trip to the NJAC Championship game for the program, as they hope to obtain their first conference championship since 2016 against the Rowan Profs.