Chason Leads Delaware Volleyball Past James Madison in Straight Sets
October 29, 2010
Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
NEWARK, Del. - - All eyes in the Colonial Athletic Association volleyball world are on Newark this weekend, and the first place University of Delaware volleyball team passed the first test, beating James Madison, 3-0, on Friday night, in front of a sellout crowd in the Carpenter Sports Building. Set scores for the night were 25-20, 25-20, and 25-21.
Delaware (19-5, 8-1 CAA) lengthened its lead in the conference with the straight set victory, and with the help of Northeastern defeating second place VCU on Friday night. James Madison (18-6, 6-3 CAA) falls to fourth place with the loss.
With the win, Delaware extends its winning streak to seven in a row and 11 out of its last 12 contests. The Blue Hens have now won 12 in a row on their home court, dating back to last season.
Senior Jess Chason set the offense, dishing out a match high 33 assists, and head coach Bonnie Kenny was impressed with her play tonight.
“I thought Jess Chason was phenomenal. She laid up balls that our hitters could do a lot of work with.”
“We really don’t stray from our routines,” Kenny continued about facing back-to-back 6-2 conference teams. “I thought our focus was really good. I was really proud after going up 2-0 that we came back.”
Reigning CAA Offensive Player of the Week Katie Dennehy had a match high 12 kills, and tallied her fourth double-double of the year, and second consecutive with 12 digs.
Alissa Alker was second with nine kills, but it was the defense that stood out. Seven of the eight players that played for the Blue Hens recorded at least one block assist, lead by Karina Evans who totaled five. The only player that stepped on the court for the Blue Hens that did not record a block was the libero, Greta Gibboney, who could not legally play in the front row. Gibboney totaled 11 digs on the night.
Danielle Erb and Lindsay Callahan led the Dukes with nine kills each, but James Madison was held to .094 hitting on the night. Katie Daorai had a match high 13 digs, while Erb was the only other Duke with double figure digs with 11. Megan Wiechmann tallied a team high 16 assists, while Lauren Fanelli passed out 14 helpers.
The second set was the closest in the night, as both teams changes leads five different times, and had the game knotted on eight different occasions. The teams were on the see-saw through the first 18 points before Delaware tried to pull away with three straight points to go ahead 11-9. But back came the Dukes with four points of their own, retaking the lead at 13-11.
The next Blue Hen run would be the one to keep them on top for good, however. Down 14-13, the Hens scored five of the next six points on the strength of Gibboney’s service game and then a service ace by Katie Hank to go up 19-15 and cruise to the finish line.
The first and third sets only featured one tie each and one lead change each, as Delaware was able to grab control of each game early and bury the Dukes before they retaliate.
Tonight the first 250 fans received a complimentary t-shirt from National 5 & 10, but more than double that game to watch the Blue Hens battle with a CAA playoff contender.
“I love playing in here,” said Kenny. “We are starting to out grow it, but that is a good thing when fans come in and can’t get a seat. Our fans are getting more and more into our matches and they understand the level that we are play and appreciate it. It’s fun.”
Delaware remains on its home court, as they welcome the defending CAA tournament champion George Mason Patriots to Viera Court on Saturday. The game is slated to start at 7 p.m.
“It’s going to be a battle,” Kenny concluded. “I think whoever the warrior is at the end will be the winner. We are going to have to sustain the momentum for a long time. If we can grind it out and stay tough, we will be okay. I like that we are playing them at home.”
Delaware def. James Madison, 3-0 (25-20, 25-20, 25-21)
Delaware (kills-assists-digs): Erickson (7-0-2), Stewart (7-0-8), Dennehy (12-0-12), Chason (0-33-6), Alker (9-1-8), Evans (2-0-0), Hank (0-0-0), Gibboney (0-1-11)
James Madison: Erb (9-1-11), Zeroual (3-0-0), Callahan (9-2-7), Turner (5-1-0), Fanelli (0-14-5), Wall (7-0-5), Abel (3-1-6), Daorai (0-0-13), Wiechmann (1-16-1)
Total Team Blocks: Delaware – 13.0, James Madison – 7.0