NEWARK, Del., Nov. 20, 2010 - Sophomore Danielle Erb (Tampa, Fla./Plant) tied her career-high with 25 kills on .351 hitting, but Northeastern won the final two sets to pick up a 3-2 win over James Madison in the Colonial Athletic Association Championship semifinals on Saturday evening.
The Dukes lost by set scores of 22-25, 25-21, 19-25, 25-19, 15-8 to fall to 22-8 overall. Northeastern improves to 19-10 and advances to the CAA Championship game on Sunday at 5 p.m. The Huskies will face the winner of Saturday's game between top-seeded Delaware and fourth-seeded Virginia Commonwealth.
Erb added 12 digs to her 25 kills to lead four JMU players with double-doubles. Senior Lindsay Callahan (Virginia Beach, Va./Landstown) had 15 kills and 16 digs while redshirt sophomore Natalie Abel (Washington, Pa./Trinity) added 11 kills and 11 digs. Senior setter Lauren Fanelli (Moon Township, Pa./Moon Area) had the fourth double-double for JMU with 28 assists and 16 digs.
Middle blockers Jessica Zeroual (Ottawa, Ont./De La Salle) and Kelly Turner (Ontario, N.Y./Wayne Central) recorded four blocks each to lead the JMU defense. Freshman libero Katie Daorai (Tampa, Fla./Plant) chipped in 12 digs and three assists.
Northeastern was led by CAA co-Rookie of the Year Janelle Tucker and CAA Player of the Year Britney Brown. Tucker had a team-high 19 digs and match-high 22 digs while Brown had a triple-double with 16 kills, 21 assists and 12 digs. Nichole Bishop and Nichole Kurz combined for 15 kills and 10 blocks. Libero Jessica LaScola had 16 digs.
The Huskies out-hit the Dukes .220 to .201 and held a 12-10 advantage in blocks. NU also led 7-5 in service aces and 73-72 in digs.
Northeastern ran out to a 5-1 lead to open set one before JMU battled back to even the score at 9-9. After an 8-4 run gave NU the 17-13 advantage, the Dukes won 11 of the next 13 points to reach its first set point. The Huskies continued to fight and got as close as 24-22 before Zeroual put the set away with kill.
NU got off to another strong start in the second set, taking a 5-2 lead. It stretched its lead to as much as five at 15-10 before a 7-2 Madison run tied the score at 17-17. The Huskies regrouped and closed the set on an 8-4 run, including four straight points on Kurz's serve.
JMU got off to its best start of the match in set three, opening up leads of 6-3 and 14-9. The Huskies battled back to tie the score at 19-19, but Fanelli's serve sparked a 6-0 run to close out the set and give the Dukes a 2-1 lead in the match.
Another slow start cost Madison in set four as it fell behind 16-10 before going on a 7-1 run to tie things at 17-17. JMU ran out of gas after the run as it won just two points the rest of the way, losing the set 25-19.
In the decisive fifth set, the Huskies got off to another fast start, opening up an 8-2 lead. The Dukes never got closer than four points the remainder of the set, ultimately falling 15-8.
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