Nov. 19, 2010

Courtesy of Tampa

TAMPA, Fla. - The second-ranked University of Tampa Spartans volleyball team (28-3) advanced to the NCAA Division II South Region final after sweeping Lynn University (21-10) in straight sets on Friday night in the Bob Martinez Center. Junior Julie Howlett collected 17 digs in effort, surpassing 1,000 for her career as Tampa cruised to its 18th straight victory.

The Spartans rolled in all three sets, winning by scores of 25-14, 25-16, 25-13 and extended its consecutive sets win streak to 25.

Sophomore Danielle Selkridge was the only player in the match to register double figures in kills with 10 on .667 hitting while committing no errors. Outside hitter Kaleigh Cunningham followed with nine kills and chipped in defensively with seven digs.

Defensively, Howlett anchored the back row for Tampa and kept the visiting Fighting Knights to a .085 hitting percentage. Having a career season with 477 digs, the libero surpassed the milestone in just her junior year.

The Spartans collected nine blocks as a team as senior Sam Macks had her hand in five. Macks also added seven kills in 12 swings to go along with seven digs.

Senior setter Meghan Sherman dished out 36 assists with four kills and guided UT to a .390 attack percentage in the match. Her 11 digs were second most for the Spartans and gave Sherman her 13th double-double on the season.

In the first set, Selkridge slammed home a kill to give Tampa a 2-1 lead as the Spartans went on to open a 10-5 advantage. Lynn brought the game to within two at 12-10 after a kill by Sophie Gagnon but it would be as close as the Fighting Knights would get as UT scored the next eight points to break the game open. Melissa Vanderhall recorded a kill to give Tampa a 25-14 victory.

The second frame had both teams exchanging points until the Spartans put together a 17-14 lead. From there, Tampa went on an 8-2 run to close the game and take a 2-0 advantage in the match.

The final set was the most lopsided in the match as the Spartans hit .394 to win by 12 points and advance to the round of 16 in the Division II volleyball tournament.

Tampa will take on Gulf South Conference champion and No. 20 West Florida in the South Region final on Saturday night at 7 p.m. in the Bob Martinez Center. The Spartans have won both matches against the Argos this year, both by 3-0 tallies.

Live stats and a video webcast will be available through www.tampaspartans.com. Fans may also click here for the 2010 NCAA Division II Volleyball South Regional host site.