Nov. 22, 2008

Courtesy California (Pa.) Athletics

CALIFORNIA, Pa. - The No. 17 Vulcans advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight for the second-straight season and third time in school history following their 3-0 victory (25-19, 25-14, 25-20) against Wheeling Jesuit University to win the NCAA Atlantic Regional Championship on Saturday.

The California University of Pennsylvania volleyball team improves to 40-1 overall this season, becoming the first Division II program to reach the 40-win plateau this year. The Vulcans have won 24-straight games en route to their second-straight conference and regional championships. Meanwhile, the second-seeded Cardinals finished the season with a 30-10 overall mark.

Junior middle hitter Ludmilla Amaral led a trio of Cal U players to reach double-digit kills against Wheeling Jesuit, collecting 12 kills with five digs and five blocks. Junior outside hitter Joanna Nist finished with 11 kills and nine digs, while senior middle hitter Thais Franca added 10 kills and three blocks.

Junior libero Marta Hodge paced the Vulcans with a match-high 18 digs and senior defensive specialist Mallory DeMarco finished with 10 digs.

Junior setter Renata Silva directed the Cal U offense with 36 assists, six digs and three kills.

Following the match, Amaral, Hodge, Nist and Silva were each named to the all-regional tournament team.