HOLLAND, Mich. -- The pass from her Emory teammate came a little lower, and closer to the net, than she might have expected so, instead of attempting an awkward set, Eagles sophomore Sydney Miles simply flicked the ball, with her left hand, over the net and into an empty front corner. The point gave Emory a 2-1 lead against Eastern in the third set and helped propel the Eagles to a 3-0 victory in the NCAA DIII quarterfinals Thursday afternoon at Hope College’s DeVos Fieldhouse.A 6-foot-1 native of Oklahoma City, Miles recently was named a first-team All-American, for the second time.
“I have so much faith in our setter, Sydney Miles,” Emory head coach Jenny McDowell said. “Any time the team is in the hands of a setter like Sydney, I feel pretty good.”
Miles had 33 assists Thursday in Emory’s 25-23, 25-15, 25-20 victory. She also had three kills, one of the Eagles’ two service aces and five digs in the match.
The Atlanta Regional‘s Most Outstanding Player, Miles credits her teammates, those for whom she is setting the ball and those from whom she is receiving the passes, for her and her team‘s success.
“My favorite part is having the complete confidence that no matter where I go with it, they are going to put it down for me,” Miles said. “And the confidence that my passing players are going to get it to me.”
Miles also has a way of relaxing her teammates. “The second we step on the court and I see Sydney setting the perfect one, I know it’s going to be good,” said junior outside hitter Leah Jacobs.
Emory, ranked No. 7, was the national runner-up in 2010. The Eagles are scheduled to play No. 1-ranked Calvin in semifinal action at 5 p.m. ET Friday.
“Sydney is unbelievable,” McDowell said. “Right before the match I saw her talking to the team so I said, ‘There isn’t a lot I have to say anymore.’ She leads both on and off the court. [She has] incredible composure, incredible competitiveness and whenever we need a point she finds a way to get it.
“Obviously she is a very offensive setter as well but she has worked hard on other areas of her game, from her defense to her blocking,” McDowell said. “She has really improved those since last year. Sydney wants to get better every single day. I‘m just glad she‘s on my team.”