Nov. 12, 2010

Courtesy of Lebanon Valley Athletics

Lebanon Valley volleyball rolled to a 3-1 (25-10, 25-17, 24-26, 25-23) victory over Ithaca Friday afternoon in a first round NCAA Tournament matchup, marking the program's first win in NCAA play. The Dutchmen claimed the first two sets before Ithaca took the third to force a fourth set. LVC will face #3 Juniata in the second round on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

LVC offense was running on all cylinders with three players posting 10 or more kills and three hitting over .300 in the match. Emily Hopkins, Joelle Snyder and Michelle Little combined for 44 of the team's 53 kills.

Hopkins tallied a .348 hitting percentage along with 20 kills, marking the second time in three matches she's had 20 kills. Snyder added 13 kills and a .303 hitting percentage, while Little had 11 kills. Jamie Hawk registered a .385 hitting percentage, posting six kills with just one error.

The Dutchmen totaled six blocks to the Bombers four. Snyder had the only solo block for LVC along with two block assists. Jess Raber and Jamie Hawk paired up on for three block assists each.

Libero Angela Kuperavage led the defensive effort with 21 digs, marking the eighth match this season in which she's tallied 20 or more digs. Setter Emily Perkins added 11 digs along with her 43 assists.

On the serving front, the Dutchmen registered eight service aces led by three each from Little and Hawk.

The Dutchmen came out rolling in the first set, claiming a 25-10 win and hitting .400 as a team. Opening with a 12-2 lead, LVC was supported by strong serving from Little as she served seven straight points. Pushing to 18-5, Ithaca called a timeout to regroup. Coming out from the break, Ithaca racked up three points before the Dutchmen grabbed the first set behind five kills.

The second set started off evenly with the teams exchanging points. After a 5-5 tie, LVC rolled off six straight points served by Perkins to force a timeout by Ithaca. The Dutchmen extended their lead to 14-6 after back-to-back block assists by Raber and Hawk. Ithaca fought back and came within two points at 16-14, but the Dutchmen notched nine of the next 12 points for the 25-17 win.

The third set proved to be a tough one with both teams fighting back and forth for the lead. Ithaca started off strong, going up 6-2 before Lebanon Valley rallied and took a 7-6 advantage. Four attack errors by the Bombers and a kill from Hopkins put the Dutchmen back on track. The two teams stuck close after that, exchanging points for multiple ties. This went on until the very end when Ithaca used two LVC attack errors to its advantage, breaking a 24-24 tie for a 26-24 win.

Lebanon Valley opened the fourth set on a roll, going up 9-2. Hawk had a strong serving rotation early on, racking up six points. The Dutchmen held an advantage of two or more points until the very end when Ithaca came back and cut LVC lead to one at 24-23. A sneak tap kill from Perkins in the next rally sent Lebanon Valley to a 25-23 victory and on to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Dutchmen will face #3 Juniata on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in the second round. The two teams share a common background as LVC and Juniata were formerly in the same conference until Juniata left the Commonwealth for the Landmark after the 2006 season. The two have not played since 2006, when Juniata downed LVC in the CC semifinals. The two share an interesting commonality as they are the only two teams to ever win multiple CC titles.

This will mark the first meeting between the two teams in NCAA play. The two have met in playoff scenarios, facing off in the MAC/CC playoffs six times, including twice in championship matches. The Eagles hold a 26-0 all-time series lead, having posted straight set victories in every match but one. Juniata is also Assistant Coach Diana Perry's alma mater. Perry was a four year member of the volleyball team, appearing in the NCAA Division III Final Four twice.