RICHMOND, Va. – No. 14 Dayton battled a tough VCU squad, but came out on top in Richmond, Va. for their 10th regular season Atlantic 10 title (25-14, 25-22, 25-22).
“Our coaches really get us prepared for these matches and the preparation makes it so much easier for opponents like this,” Shayne Brown said. “It is good to see the work we put into our gym back home pays off in other gyms.”
In the match, Rachel Krabacher and Megan Campbell recorded 13 kills apiece while Isolde Hannan, Shayne Brown, and Alaina Turner all had more than seven kills each. The Flyers hit for a .388 percentage while holding VCU to a .348 mark. Samantha Selsky recorded 41 assists and Paige Vargas added 10 digs to the effort.
Dayton got off to a fast start and took an initial 6-1 lead. Alaina Turner had a couple of big kills early on to get the Flyers going, followed by Rachel Krabacher, who furthered Dayton’s lead to 9-4. VCU started to get things going on the offensive end of the floor as Dayton tried to hang on to the momentum. The Flyers used a balanced attack to take a 16-10 lead midway through set No. 1.
Samantha Selsky recorded a big ace to put Dayton up 19-12 and force a Ram time out. Isolde Hannan responded with back-to-back points for the Flyers, giving Dayton a 21-12 advantage. From that point on, the visiting UD squad controlled the set and took a 1-0 lead thanks to the 25-14 victory.
VCU responded to start the second set and rode home court advantage to a 5-1 lead. Dayton was forced to take a time out in order to stop the surging Ram offense. Head coach Kelly Sheffield got the Flyers back on the right track as UD scored the next three points, narrowing the margin. Dayton continued to attempt a comeback, but VCU stayed one step ahead of the visitors throughout the set.
Four consecutive Dayton points cut the margin down to two at 14-12 in VCU’s favor as Krabacher and Shayne Brown led the attack. Selsky and Turner’s block tied the match up at 14-14, putting Dayton back into the game. The Flyers managed to take a 21-19 lead with a pair of kills by Krabacher, marking Dayton’s first lead since the early stages of the set. With the momentum in their favor, the Flyers used it to finish off the Rams in the second set, 25-22.
Dayton was just one set away from their fourth consecutive A-10 title and that excitement was noticeable in set No. 3. The Flyers got out to a 5-2 lead to start play once again and the Rams found themselves down early. VCU was hoping to prevent a sweep and cut the deficit to one at 7-6. The Flyers and Rams battled back and forth with both teams trying to take control of the tempo in the third set.
As the set played out, Dayton would extend their lead by a few points only to have VCU climb back into the match with a run of their own. The Rams tied the match up at 14-14 before consecutive kills by Hannan put Dayton back in control 17-15.
VCU was able to rally and take a 19-18 lead, but UD answered with three consecutive points. The Flyers had a 21-19 advantage and used it to squeak past the Rams down the stretch. Despite a fighting effort by VCU, Dayton took the third and final set 25-22.
The Flyers moved their record to 22-4 on the season and 13-0 in conference play. It marked the fourth consecutive A-10 regular season title for No. 14 Dayton.