Nov. 14, 2010

Courtesy of Emory Athletics

The No. 1-ranked Emory volleyball team bested No. 20 Cal Lutheran in the title match of the Atlanta, Georgia, Regional on Sunday, propelling the Eagles into the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships next weekend. Emory recorded its 17th straight win and raised their overall record to 34-4 following a 21-25, 25-20, 25-11, 22-25, 15-12 slugfest against the Regals who saw their season end at 29-4.

Before an enthusiastic crowd at the Woodruff PE Center on the Emory campus, the Eagles, the No. 1 seed in the regional, hit 20.4 percent (61-28—162) compared to the Regals 13.2 percent (51-28—174). In addition, Emory held a decisive 84-62 edge in digs along with an 8-4 edge in total blocks. Cal Lutheran met Emory as the No. 2 seed.

Sophomore Breanah Bourque spearheaded a balanced offensive attack with a match-high 17 kills, tying her second-highest total of the season, while figuring as a force at the net as well with five block assists. Bourque was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Atlanta Regional. Senior Amelia McCall was next high in kills, racking up 16 terminations with her 17 digs representing her 17th double-double of the campaign. Rounding out the squads double-figure terminators were junior Jessica McAlvany and junior Ali Wright with 12 apiece. Junior Natalie Schonefeld was precise and effective in her decision making, doling out 54 assists and contributing 20 digs. Helping in the defensive effort was freshman Molly Landers with 19 digs. Schonefeld and McCall joined Borque as Emory representatives on the all-regional team.

Cal Lutheran senior Allison Kerr continued her strong play for the Regals and produced a team-high 16 kills on the night. Junior Casy McWhirk picked up 13 kills and registered a team-high 17 digs. Both Kerr and McWhirk all were selected to the all-regional team. Sophomore Jackie Russell dished out 36 assists in the losing effort.

In the decisive fifth set, Emory fell behind by a 5-3 margin following a kill by CLUs Rachel Smith. A couple of kills by McAlavany and one by McCall sparked a 4-0 spurt that pushed the Eagles ahead by a 7-5 count. The Regals countered with three unanswered points to go ahead by an 8-7 margin before Emory battled back to tie the game at 10-10. After the teams exchanged points, the Eagles used back-to-back kills by McAlvany and Bourque followed by a CLU attack error to take a 14-11 lead. The Regals staved off one match point before Bourque sent the Eagles into next weeks championship round with a kill.

Next up for Emory will be a quarterfinal match against No. 5-ranked Christopher Newport (38-2) on Friday at 6:30 p.m. (EST). Serving as the host for the NCAA quarterfinal, semifinal and championships will be Washington University in Saint Louis.