Blue Hens Volleyball Capture Delaware Invitational; Shonk Named MVP
NEWARK, Del – The Blue Hen volleyball team posted a 3-0 victory over Sacred Heart Saturday afternoon before recording a heart-stopping 3-2 win over Furman that night as UD captured the University of Delaware Invitational championship at the Bob Carpenter Center.
The Blue Hens, who improved to 6-4 on the season, defeated the Pioneers by set scores of 25-19, 25-23 and 25-23. Delaware, which claimed its second tournament title in as many weekends, then ousted the Paladins by scores of 15-25, 25-21, 25-21, 21-25, 15-7.
Delaware sophomore libero Ariel Shonk was named the Tournament Most Valuable Player after leading the Blue Hens with 12 digs against Sacred Heart before recording a match-high 37 digs versus Furman. Joining Shonk on the All-Tournament Team were UD senior Katie Hank, who blasted a season-high 23 kills and hit .353 against the Paladins, and redshirt sophomore Chandler Bryant, who had 10 kills during the night’s victory over Furman.
Katie Hillman led Delaware with 12 kills and a .290 hitting percentage against Sacred Heart (4-5), while Megan Blunden and Hank added six kills apiece. Mackenzie Olsen dished out 28 assists during the match while Jill Meyers, Bryant and Blunden each added four blocks. Meyers then set a career-high with 10 blocks versus Furman (3-7), while Bryant again had four. Blunden posted a season-high 12 kills, while she and Hillman each had three blocks.
After four tense sets, the Blue Hens won the first three points of the fifth set and did not trail from there. Furman pulled within 6-4, but Delaware took control with seven consecutive points, including five while freshman Erin Layne was serving. Hank then ended the match with a kill to give the Blue Hens the championship.
“I’m really proud that we were able to sustain our energy for three matches,” said Blue Hen head coach Bonnie Kenny. “We didn’t always play well, but each time we responded and got better. Our players never quit, and played really well over a long period of time. Our blocking was excellent against Furman, and Erin Layne did a great job of serving in the fifth set.”
• Delaware won its second consecutive tournament, after winning the Radisson Cross Keys Greyhound Challenge last weekend
• The Blue Hens captured the Delaware Invitational for the first time since the 2010 season
• Three of UD’s last four matches have gone five sets
• All but one Delaware player saw action against Furman
• The Blue Hens improved to 2-0 all-time versus both Sacred Heart and Furman
• Mackenzie Olsen posted a double-double against Furman with 52 assists and 14 digs
• The Blue Hens travel to Villanova on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. non-conference match with the Wildcats