No. 1 Volleyball Falls to No. 3 Emory in UAA Championship Match, 3-1
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Cleveland, Ohio, November 6, 2010 – The No. 1 Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team fell to No. 3 Emory University, 3-1 (25-22, 26-24, 22-25, 25-16), in the 2010 University Athletic Association (UAA) Championship Match on Saturday afternoon at the Veale Center on the campus of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.
The Bears advanced to the conference championship match with a 3-0 (25-14, 25-21, 25-19) win over No. 15 New York University earlier in the day.
Freshman outside hitter Meghan Byrne recorded a career-high 20 kills in the championship match, but it was not enough for the Bears to capture the UAA Championship for the first time since 2008. Washington University and Emory have met to decide the last seven UAA Championships, with the Eagles winning three of the last four title tilts. Interestingly enough, the UAA runner-up has gone on to win the NCAA Division III national championship in each of the last three seasons.
Washington U. committed 10 attacking errors as Emory won the first set, 25-22. The Bears came out firing in the second, building an 8-1 lead, but that lead would not hold. Emory surged back to tie the match at 15-15, and take a lead three points later.
Emory had a crack at set point before sophomore Drew Hargrave sent down one of her 16 kills to tie the score at 24-24, but the Eagles grabbed the next two points to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
The third set was just as tight as the first two, and Washington U. used a late run to secure the three-point win. A kill from Hargrave capped off a 3-0 run that allowed the Bears to take an 18-17 lead, and a solo block from junior middle hitter Lauren Budde put Washington U. ahead by two, 20-18. Emory came back to tie the set at 22-22 before Byrne’s sixth kill of the third set put the Bears back in front for good. However, Emory went on to win the fourth set 25-16 to clinch the win.
In addition to 20 kills, Byrne hit an astounding .514 against Emory. Budde finished with a double-double, recording 12 kills and 11 digs and sophomore Marilee Fisher compiled 54 assists in four sets, with five digs and two blocks.
In the Pool B championship match on Saturday morning, Washington University avenged a 3-2 loss suffered to New York at the second UAA round robin three weeks ago in Waltham, Mass. Back a full strength, the Bears swept the Violets by dominating play nearly from start to finish.
New York did get off to a fast start, leading 5-1 to start the opening frame. Following a quick timeout by head coach Rich Luenemann, the Bears responded by taking eight of the next 12 points, tying the score at 9-9 with an ace from sophomore Meg Buker. Senior Ali Hoffman served up an ace to give the Bears their first lead, 11-10, and continued to serve strong with Washington University scoring seven-straight points to quickly pull ahead by six points, 16-10.
Senior right side Marya Kaminski and Budde each tallied four kills in the first-set win over New York, on their way to a pair of strong offensive performances. Kaminski hit .474 with 11 kills in the win and Budde tied with Byrne for the team lead with 12 kills.
Both teams traded points for much of the second set until Byrne took control offensively. She rattled off three-straight kills to break open the frame and give her team a 17-12 lead, which they never relinquished.
Fisher tallied 40 assists in three sets against New York, while Hoffman and sophomore libero Kelly Pang each corralled 17 digs, with 10 of Hoffman’s coming in the first set alone.
As the No. 1 team in the NCAA Central Region, Washington U. (31-3, 8-3 UAA) will be in line for an at-large bid when the 63-team field for the 2010 NCAA Division III Championship is announced on Monday, Nov. 8. The NCAA will reveal this year’s field with a live selection show on www.ncaa.com, starting at 11 a.m. (ET).