Volleyball Falls to No. 1 Emory University, 3-1, in NCAA Semifinals
BOX | PHOTO GALLERY
St. Louis, Mo., November 20, 2010 – In front of a raucous crowd at the Washington University Field House in St. Louis, Mo., the top-ranked Emory University volleyball team defeated No. 3 Washington University in St. Louis 3-1 (18-25, 29-27, 25-21, 25-20) in the NCAA Division III semifinals on Saturday, Nov. 20.
Emory advances to the NCAA Division III championship match, where it will face No. 10 Calvin College on Monday, Nov. 22, in St. Louis, Mo., at 2 p.m. Calvin erased a two-set deficit to beat Juniata College, 3-2, earlier on Saturday.
Emory’s victory was its second in a row over the Bears, marking just the second time in the rivalry that the Eagles have picked up back-to-back victories over their main University Athletic Association rival. It also snapped a 33-match home winning streak for Washington University and dropped its postseason home record to 35-3.
Sophomore Breanah Bourque, who finished with a match-high 24 kills while hitting .435, led Emory. The Eagles combined to tally 69 kills as a team and hit .263 in the four-set win. Freshman right side Tessa Blood powered the Washington University attack with 15 kills and a .314 hitting percentage.
Sophomore setter Marilee Fisher and freshman middle hitter Kaia Schwartz blocked an attack from Jessica McAlvany to give Washington University a 13-9 lead in the first set, but Emory scored five of the next six points to tie the score on an Amelia McCall kill.
Back came the Bears with a 4-0 run to swing the set back in their favor. Junior middle hitter Lauren Budde broke the tie and Washington U. jumped ahead by three following an ace from freshman outside hitter Meghan Byrne. Blood and sophomore outside hitter Drew Hargrave each recorded four kills in the Bears’ seven-point opening set win and Fisher paced the offense to a .324 hitting percentage with 13 assists.
Emory came out on fire in the second set, with kills accounting for 11 of its first 13 points as it opened a 13-9 lead. The Eagles were hitting .773 without an attack error before Bourque hit into a Byrne and Schwartz double block to make the score 13-11. After a Byrne hitting error McCall and Bourque scored on consecutive points to give the Eagles a five-point cushion, their largest of the set.
A couple of kills from Budde helped Washington University climb back into the game and the Bears tied the score at 21-21 when senior Jennifer Varriano and Blood blocked an attack from McAlvany. Byrne provided WUSTL with a brief one-point lead by tipping a shot over Bourque and setter Natalie Schonefeld, but Bourque came right back with a kill of her own two points later to put Emory back ahead.
On two occasions the Eagles were unable to take advantage of a chance at set point, committing service errors both times. But the third chance resulted in another kill from Bourque to tie match at 1-1. Bourque had six kills in the second set and helped Emory hit .327 as a team with kills accounting for 22 of its 29 points.
While a kill from Hargrave gave Washington University a 5-2 lead early in the third set, from that point neither team led by more than two points until the waning moments of the set. McCall broke an 18-18 tie with a kill to put Emory in front by one, and the Eagles opened up a three-point lead when Alexandria Wright blocked Budde. Washington U. closed to within one thanks to a pair of kills from Blood, but never managed to completely erase Emory’s lead.
The fourth set played out nearly identically to the third. Once Emory jumped out to a three-point, 16-13 lead, the Eagles were able to keep Washington University at arm’s length for the length of the match. The Bears pulled within one, 20-19, thanks to a Hargrave kill, but McAlvany came right back to put the Eagles in front by two, and they ended the match with a 4-0 run.
Schonefeld finished with 56 assists, 13 digs and seven kills for the Eagles, while McCall recorded 12 kills and 13 digs. Byrne (13), Budde (11) and Hargrave (10) each finished in double figures in kills for Washington U., and sophomore libero Kelly Pang notched 30 digs for the second night in a row.