ATLANTA -- Emory won a pair of Friday matches on the opening day of its National Invitational Tournament. The Eagles opened with a 3-0 decision (25-13, 25-22, 25-12) against SUNY-Cortland before battling to a 3-1 triumph (25-20, 25-23, 15-25, 25-12) against No. 9 Juniata. The two wins upped Emory's overall record to 26-3.
Junior Cat McGrath led the team in attacks in both matches, posting 10 terminations and hitting .500 (10-2—16) against Cortland before leading all performers with 13 kills and registering a solid .565 hitting effort (13-0—23) against Juniata. Junior Leah Jacobs was second on the squad with 11 successful attack attempts in the Juniata contest, her 14th match of double figures this year, while classmate Kate Bowman totaled 10 kills while chipping in 17 digs, her ninth double-double of the campaign.
Junior Taylor Erwin turned in a solid defensive effort and led Emory in digs in both affairs, picking up 10 against the Red Dragons and a match-high 23 against Juniata, her ninth match of 20 or more this year.
The Emory defensive effort saw it limit its two opponents to a combined .071 hitting percentage (57-41—224).
No. 1 Hope 3, Albion 0
HOLLAND, Mich. -- Top-ranked Hope clinched its 12th Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) championship on Friday by sweeping Albion at home.
The Flying Dutch won 25-16, 25-11, 25-12 in front of a DeVos Fieldhouse Main Court crowd of 1,073 to complete league play with a 15-1 record and match No. 2-ranked Calvin for first place.
Against Albion, junior outside hitter Jenna Grasmeyer of Jenison led the Flying Dutch with 13 kills.
Earles chipped in 10 kills, while junior Anna Lynch added nine. Hope hit .410 as a team as sophomore setter Lauren Hazekamp recorded a match-high 40 assists and 15 digs.
No. 2 Calvin 3, Kalamazoo 1
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Calvin hosted the Hornets of Kalamazoo on Friday evening for an MIAA contest. Not only was the match the final regular season game for the Knights, but it was also Senior Night as Calvin’s two seniors, Kristin Zietse and Megan Rietema, were honored at Van Noord Arena.
Calvin made it a happy senior night, defeating Kalamazoo 25-11, 25-14, 25-13. The win gives the Knights a share of the MIAA regular season championship with Hope. Calvin also clinches the top seed for the MIAA tournament as the Knights own a tie-breaker edge over Hope due to total sets won and lost in the two matches played against each other this fall.
Calvin’s MIAA title is its fourth consecutive and sixth under current head coach Amber Warners. It is also the 19th in program history – the most in MIAA volleyball history.
No. 3 Cal Lutheran 3, Cal Tech 0
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- On a night when four seniors were recognized prior to their final home regular season contest it was the rookies who stepped up in a big way to help the Regals earn a 3-0 (25-7, 25-6, 25-8) Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) victory against Caltech.
Cal Lutheran took a 5-0 first set lead and clearly controlled the momentum throughout as Caltech never reached double figures in any of the three games. In the second, CLU also took a 5-0 lead before the Beavers got on the board. The third set was more of the same for the Violet and Gold as they finished strong.
With 11 different Regals recording at least one kill, it was Caitlin Fransen who led the way with five on seven swings without an error for a .714 hitting percentage tonight. Sarah Pappas finished with four kills on six chances and both McLogan and Hannah Orlandi had three kills in the win with Orlandi’s coming on four swings without an error to hit at a .750 clip. Nicky Lyon and Hannah Nua each came off the bench for a pair of kills. Jena Chavez did the majority of the setting, tallying 12 assists while Russell handed out six and Lindsey Kuramoto and Diana Rohrer each added one.
No. 5 Elmhurst 3, Benedictine 1
LISLE, Ill. -- Elmhurst built a quick 18-8 lead in the opening set and cruised to the 25-18 win. Benedictine responded in the second set by building a 5-1 lead. Elmhurst closed to within a point at 16-15 and the Bluejays' pulled even at 22-22, but kills from Molly Kovacich and Candice Cuppini gave Benedictine a 24-22 lead. Elmhurst fought off one set points, but an error on the Bluejays gave the second set to the Eagles.
Benedictine pulled out to a 16-14 lead in the third set, but the Bluejays used a 6-2 run to take a 20-18 lead. The Eagles scored two consecutive points to knot the score at 20-20, but Elmhurst used three consecutive points to take a 23-20 lead. The Eagles pulled to within a point at 24-23, but a kill from Hannah Nimrick wrapped up the set for the Bluejays.
The fourth set belonged to Elmhurst as the Bluejays scored the first seven points and cruised the rest of the way to the 25-18 win to put away the match.
No. 5 Elmhurst 3, Lawrence
LISLE, Ill. -- The Bluejays notched their 30th win of the season for the third consecutive year with a sweep of Lawrence.
Szarmach powered Elmhurst's attack with 12 kills while Reynolds finished with 10 kills and three blocks while hitting a match-high .643. Wilks added five kills and two blocks while Nimrick totaled four kills and 13 assists. Shannon Burns finished with six kills and 12 digs. Lorenz led the Bluejays in assists with 15.
No. 8 Washington-St. Louis 3, Michigan-Dearborn 1
ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- Senior Tessa Blood led a balanced offensive attack that lifted the No. 8-ranked Washington-St. Louis volleyball team to a 25-19, 26-24, 25-11 win against Michigan-Dearborn on Senior Night at the WU Field House on Friday evening.
The Bears’ four seniors – Blood, Meghan Byrne, Tanya Marvi and Emily Tulloch – combined for for 21 kills, 42 digs, nine blocks and three aces to lead Washington U. to the win. The group, who was honored for Senior Night prior to the match, has helped the Bears to an overall record of 123-15 (.891) and a 75-3 (.962) record at the WU Field House in their four-year careers.
No. 10 Wittenberg 3, Northwestern Ohio 1
SPRINGFIELD, Ohio -- Wittenberg put the final touches on a regular season with a 3-1 defeat of Northwestern Ohio. The victory came by set scores of 25-16, 23-25, 25-19, and 25-17.
The Tigers worked hard en route to improving their overall record to 20-8 and securing their 22nd consecutive season with at least 20 victories, a streak that stretches back to 1991.
Junior setter Meghan Vodopich made the most of the match, hitting for 10 kills, dishing out 39 assists, and passing 16 digs on her way to the first triple-double in Paco Labrador's 10-year tenure as head coach of the Tigers.