PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Dayton overcame a 2-0 deficit to win their fourth consecutive A-10 championship with a 3-2 win against Xavier (26-28, 19-25, 25-16, 25-16, 25-14).
Overall, the Flyers hit for a .250 percentage and held Xavier to a .149 mark. Rachel Krabacher recorded 18 kills en route to tournament Most Outstanding Player honors. Megan Campbell (17 kills) and Samantha Selsky (53 assists) were also named to the All-Tournament team. Alaina Turner contributed 14 kills offensively while five different Flyers had double-digit digs in the match. Janna Krafka led the way with 22 digs.
The match began with Dayton scoring on a block, followed by two consecutive points from Xavier. Then Megan Campbell crushed an attack past the Musketeer defense, tying up the score. That set the tone of the match with the top-two seeds of the tournament battling for control. Xavier managed to put together a run early on in the first set and took a 10-4 lead. Dayton head coach Kelly Sheffield called a time out to regroup. Five consecutive points put the Flyers back on the right track, cutting the deficit to one, 10-9. Dayton stuck around with Xavier into the latter stages of set No. 1 and even tied the score up at 14-14.
With the Flyers’ comeback complete, it was time for them to take momentum back in their favor. Krabacher’s kill on an assist from Selsky gave UD a 15-14 advantage, their first lead since it was 1-0. Xavier battled back and managed to tie the match up at 18-18, and once again at 23-23. Neither team was able to seal the deal down the stretch, until an attacking error gave Xavier the 28-26 win in the first set. Dayton had opportunities, but was unable to capitalize.
In the second set, Xavier and Dayton went back and forth with small leads and quick counter strikes. The Flyers would take a one-point lead only to see the Musketeers match it. The score remained even until the midway point in the set when Krabacher put Dayton up 13-10 with a thundering kill. UD used that margin to keep Xavier at bay for the most part.The Musketeers fought their way back into contention and tied the set up at 17-17. It was now Xavier’s turn to lead the way as Dayton found itself looking for the defense to step up. The Flyers were unable to answer any of the Musketeers’ runs and ended up falling to Xavier in set No. 2, 25-19.
Dayton came out of the locker rooms focused on the third set and jumped out to a 10-5 lead. Coach Sheffield had the Flyers motivated and ready to play as they kept pushing the tempo on the Musketeers. UD extended its lead to 15-9 midway through the third set and had total control of the game.The Flyers led by as much as eight at 20-12 by eliminating errors and keeping their attacks inside the lines. Selsky distributed the ball evenly and a number of Dayton hitters stepped up for the top-seeded Flyers. After dropping the first two sets of the match, Dayton took the third set, 25-16.
Dayton got off to a fast start in the fourth set and took an early lead 4-0. Xavier countered with a run of its own, but the Flyers responded with another 6-0 stretch, taking a 15-6 lead. UD held the margin around five points throughout the set and even extended their advantage to double digits at 21-11. Xavier was tiring quickly and was unable to mount enough of a comeback. Dayton took the fourth set 25-14 and tied the match up at 2-2.
The deciding set began with the momentum in Dayton’s favor, but Xavier’s offense woke up for a 2-0 lead to start. The Flyers countered though with a 6-1 run and took the lead back. Their streak continued and UD pushed their advantage to 9-3. The Musketeers found themselves down big and were never able to put a big enough rally together. UD finished off the Musketeers with a score of 15-7 in the final set.
Dayton overcame a huge 2-0 deficit and took the last three sets of the match for their fourth consecutive Atlantic 10 championship. It also marked the eighth time in the past 10 years, which tied Penn State for the most titles in A-10 history.
Dayton moves its record to 25-4 on the season with the Flyers winning 17 consecutive matches.