Nov. 20, 2010

TAMPA, Fla. -

Courtesy of Tampa Athletics

Down four points in the fifth set, the No. 2 University of Tampa Spartans volleyball team (29-3) fought back to defeat the No. 20 University of West Florida Argonauts (30-7) by a 3-2 margin in the south region final on Saturday night. The victory pushes Tampa into the NCAA Division II Quarterfinals for the second straight season and caps UT's 13th region championship.

The Spartans won by scores of 25-11, 23-25, 25-18, 21-25, 15-12 as four players recorded double digits in kills for Tampa.

Down 10-6 in the fifth set, the Spartans were forced to take a timeout after an attack by Jessica Yingling landed wide. Out of the break, West Florida committed a service error and Yingling capitalized on a chance for redemption with a solo block to bring the score to within two. After the teams exchanged service errors, Danielle Selkridge slammed home a kill and she and Meghan Sherman blocked an attack from Jamie Nichols to knot the score at 12.

Kaleigh Cunningham then powered the Spartans with three consecutive kills to send Tampa to Louisville, Ky. for the NCAA Division II Fall Festival and women's volleyball championships.

Yingling finished with a match-best 15 kills on .394 hitting as Cunningham ended up with 13. Selkridge tallied 12 kills at a .455 rate and Melissa Vanderhall overcame a slow start to chip in 11 more kills. Sam Macks registered nine more on 16 swings to complete the offensive effort.

Cunningham and Vanderhall also notched double-doubles with 12 and 14 digs, respectively, along with Sherman with 12 digs and 51 assists. Sherman, a senior setter, guided the Spartans to a .283 attack percentage and added two kills and three blocks.

Defensively, Selkridge had her hand in eight blocks, including five solos, as the team finished with 12.0 total blocks. Libero Julie Howlett anchored the back row with 13 digs as the Spartans limited the Argos to a .180 hitting percentage.

Katie Johnson led the Argos with 14 kills and Kara Gonzalez added 13 more as both placed on the all-tournament team. Setter Tricia Tirabassi also placed on the team after notching a double-double with 22 assists and 11 digs. Libero Anna Stoecklein tallied a match-high 15 digs.

The Spartans placed four on the all-tourney team, as Selkridge, Macks, Yingling, and Sherman gained honors.

Tampa now takes a two-week break before traveling to Bellarmine University to face the winner of the Midwest Region in the NCAA Quarterfinals.