Volleyball Claims Third CAA Championship in Four Years, 3-2, Over Northeastern
November 21, 2010
Photos Courtesy of Chris Permar
NEWARK, Del. - - Trailing 2-1 and with the momentum on the opposite side of the net, the University of Delaware volleyball team roared back to claim its third Colonial Athletic Association championship in four seasons, edging Northeastern University, 3-2, Sunday night on Barb Viera Court. Set scores for the match were 23-25, 27-25, 25-27, 25-20, and 15-9.
The five-set match featured 41 ties and 20 lead changes.
Following the match, the CAA announced the all-tournament team, which was led by UD’s Katie Dennehy, as she was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Dennehy was joined by teammates Kim Stewart and Alissa Alker on the team. The Huskies' Britney Brown and Janelle Tucker were selected to the team, as were Kristin Boyd of Virginia Commonwealth University and Danielle Erb of James Madison.
Dennehy finished the five-setter with a team high 21 kills and picked up 15 digs for her sixth double-double of the season.
“This is such a sweet victory,” said Dennehy on the victory and receiving the Most Outstanding Player award. “Our seniors have busted their butts for four years and I’m just so proud of everybody. It’s an amazing award but it really is a team reward. We work so hard in practice and are always pushing each other.”
Northeastern was in revenge mode from two seasons ago, as Delaware traveled to Boston and downed the host Huskies in five sets. In that tournament, Delaware was the three seed, playing in a hostile environment against the top seed in the championship. This year, the roles were reversed, but with a similar outcome.
Jess Chason collected her 14th double-double dishing out 52 assists to go along with 25 digs. As a team, the Blue Hens recorded 110 digs on the night, with five different players tallying double digits. Chason’s 25 were followed by Greta Gibboney who gathered 22, Stewart (19), Alker (17), Dennehy (15).
“This was a dog fight tonight and just an incredible defensive match,” head coach Bonnie Kenny said. “The defense by both teams was unbelievable and the digging defense was just incredible. I’ve watched a lot of tape on them (Northeastern) and they did to us tonight what we usually do to other teams. They made us earn every point.”
Northeastern’s 121 digs ranks fourth for most in the country in 2010, based on a list compiled through November 8. Three Huskies posted 23 digs for the match, led by CAA Player of the Year Brown. Tucker also finished with 23 digs, as did libero Jessica LaScola for Northeastern. Brown tallied yet another triple-double adding 11 kills and 28 assists for the night. Tucker paced the Huskies offense with 22 kills.
“I’m so proud of everybody,” continued Kenny. “I told our team at the break that we can’t play any harder but we can play better. I thought that if we could settle in and get some rhythm in our offense we would be okay. And we did get better. Our serving and blocking in the fifth game was the difference.”
After fighting back to take a much needed fourth set, the fifth and deciding set did not start off so well for the home squad. After getting a service ace from Chason to start off the set, and send the 600 standing room only fans into a frenzy, the Huskies responded with four straight points to grab the momentum. Back came the Blue Hens however, scoring five of the next seven points, evening the match at 6-6 and forcing Northeastern into an early timeout.
The Huskies took their last lead of the night following the timeout, getting a kill from Nicole Bishop. Erickson tied the set with a kill before and attack error by Northeastern and a kill from Dennehy gave the Blue Hens the lead for good. Now leading 9-8, a kill from Erickson and Dennehy forced another timeout from Northeastern, but the Huskies could not settle the momentum shift, as Dennehy came out and got back-to-back kills to put the Hens two points away from the Championship.
After a service error gave the ball back to Northeastern, Dennehy’s final kill of the match gave Delaware championship point. As Chason served, the defense saved its best act for last, as Alker and freshman Karina Evans combined for a block assist, denying Brown’s attack for the match.
“This is so rewarding,” Kenny mentioned. “We had to bring everything we had. It wasn’t always pretty but this was a match our student-athletes will never forget.”
It wasn’t easy at all, unlike a lot of matches the Blue Hens have endured this season. This match was only the sixth five-set match of the season, as they are now 5-1 in the deciding games.
“We just knew that when they had an awesome kills, we had to just stay calm whether it was a great kill or a dink shot,” Dennehy added talking on how the team had to adjust to different Northeastern team then when they defeated them 3-1 on October 24. “We knew we just had to get it done and we did.”
“Katie is the pulse of our team and she had to be tonight and she was,” the Co-Coach of the Year said of her star player. “And Kim Stewart’s defense and serving in the fifth game was a big key. I don’t think I have a whole lot left in me.”
Katie Dennehy – Delaware (Most Outstanding Player)
Alissa Alker – Delaware
Kim Stewart – Delaware
Britney Brown – Northeastern
Janelle Tucker – Northeastern
Kristin Boyd – VCU
Danielle Erb - JMU
#1 Delaware def. #3 Northeastern, 3-2 (23-25, 27-25, 25-27, 25-20, 15-9)
Delaware (kills-assists-digs): Erickson (11-0-9), Stewart (12-0-19), Dennehy (21-0-15), Chason (1-52-25), Alker (16-1-17), Evans (2-1-3), Gibboney (0-7-22), Lawrence (0-0-0)
Northeastern: Tittl (5-0-2), Bishop (13-0-1), Tucker (22-0-23), Brown (11-28-23), Kamenova (0-33-17), Kurz (11-0-10), LaScola (0-1-23), Servillon (0-0-17), Ciszek (6-1-4), Robinson (0-0-1)
Total Team Blocks: Delaware 16, Northeastern 12
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