Coyle
CA

POTSDAM, N.Y. – Cortland rallied after losing the first set and the Red Dragons earned a trip to the NCAA Div. III Quarterfinals with a 3-1 victory against MIddlebury College in the NCAA Div. III regional final at Clarkson University.

Cortland will make its ninth NCAA quarterfinal appearance and first since 2000. The Red Dragons will play Christopher Newport on Friday at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. The match time is to be announced. The national semifinals will be held Saturday and the championship game is Sunday, also at Washington University. Cortland (42-1) won its 22nd consecutive match -- the second longest win streak in school history behind a 39-match run by the 2003 squad.

Senior outside hitter Ashley Coyle was named the NCAA regional Most Outstanding Player and was joined on the all-tournament team by junior setter Kristen Guercio and sophomore outside hitter Aubrey Barrett.

Coyle led Cortland versus the Panthers with 16 kills, two aces and 16 digs. Guercio dished out 44 assists and scooped up nine digs, while Barrett added 12 kills and six blocks.

Junior outside hitter Katie Wick recorded 11 kills and a team-high 18 digs. Senior middle hitter Kaitlyn Cooper finished with eight kills and six blocks, four solo. Senior middle hitter Sheena Asibey had nine kills and six blocks, while senior Jaclyn Lawrence and sophomore Krissy Silk notched nine digs each.

Middlebury (23-9) was led by Megan Jarchow's 17 kills and Amy Hart's 16 kills and 10 digs. Jane Handel finished with 15 kills and 15 digs and Julia Gibbs registered 52 assists and five aces.

Cortland fell behind 7-2 to start the first set and never recovered. The Red Dragons were within three at 19-16, but Middlebury scored four straight points. Trailing 24-17, Cortland was able to score four points before Middlebury won the set.

The second set was tied at 17-17 when a bad set and two Cooper kills gave Cortland a 20-17 lead. The Panthers answered with four in a row on a Handel kill, two Gibbs aces and a Cortland error to go up 21-20. With the set tied 22-22, Coyle put down two kills and Asibey and Guercio combined on the set-ending block.

Middlebury led 11-6 in the third set, but Cortland mounted an 8-0 run that featured two Cooper kills and kills by Wick, Coyle and Guercio to take a 14-11 lead. The Red Dragons appeared comfortable with a 22-17 lead, but the Panthers went on a 6-1 streak to tie the set at 23-23. Cortland had set points at 24-23 and 25-24, but each time Middlebury responded to tie. Cortland finally ended the set on kills by Coyle and Barrett.

In the fourth set, the Red Dragons were clinging to a 15-14 lead before going on a decisive 7-0 run. That stretch started with kills by Wick and Asibey and finished with a Barrett kill, a Barrett block and two consecutive combined blocks by Barrett and Cooper.