Delaware Cruises to the CAA Finals With a 3-1 Victory over James Madison; Face Hofstra Sunday in Final
Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
November 17, 2012
• Box Score
• CAA Tournament Central
TOWSON, Md. – Blue Hen senior outside hitter Alissa Alker’s double-double provided the offensive spark as the University of Delaware defeated James Madison, 3-1, Saturday evening in the semifinals of the 2012 Colonial Athletic Association Volleyball Championships at Towson Center Arena, winning by set scores of 25-17, 16-25, 25-19 and 25-23.
With the victory, No. 2 seed Delaware (16-13) will be playing for its third-straight CAA Championship on Sunday at 5 p.m. while No. 6 seed James Madison completes its season with a 12-16 overall record.
“I thought our serving was one of the keys to our victory,” said Delaware head coach Bonny Kenny, who has led her team to four CAA
Tournament titles in the last five seasons. “I’m proud of our kids for hanging tough in the up-and-down match.”
The Blue Hens are now riding a four-game winning streak after they avenged an earlier 3-0 loss to the Dukes on Oct. 12 in Harrisonburg, Va.
A recently named All-CAA first team selection for the second straight year, Alker led the team with 16 kills to go along with 14 digs in the four-match win. Junior Katie Hank was the only other UD player with double-digit kills with 10
CAA All-Rookie team selection, freshman setter Mackenzie Olsen, converted 39 of Delaware’s 46 assists while CAA Defensive Player of the Year, freshman libero Ariel Shonk, posted a match-high 30 digs.
James Madison’s Danielle Erbe and Meghan Niski led the team with 13 kills apiece. Sara Patterson (21) and Megan Wiechmann (20) combined for 41 of the Dukes 44 assists on the night while Katie Daorai had 23 kills to pace the James Madison squad.
In the opening set the Blue Hens started out strong with a 6-1 lead before JMU knotted the match at 12 points apiece. UD would out score JMU, 13-5 over to close out the game with a kill by freshman outside hitter Katie Hillman, 25-17.
The Dukes would knot the match a 1-1 with a score of 25-16 after the Blue Hens forced an early 4-4 tie in the set. James Madison would close out the set on a 5-1 run capped by Niski’s kill.
In the pivotal third set, Alker’s two aces handed the Blue Hens an early 4-2 advantage. The Dukes went on a 6-2 run that brought the game to 16-13. Alker capped a 9-6 run for Delaware with back-to-back kills that gave UD a 25-19 set win.
It was a back-and-forth battle in the fourth set as the Blue Hens and Dukes combined for 11 ties and nine different lead changes. Down 23-19, Delaware reeled off six-straight points with four attack errors by James Madison and two kills from Hank and Alker solidified a 25-23 set and match victory.
“I would love to send (seniors) Logan Sebastian, Chelsea Lawrence, and Alissa Alker out with a championship,” Kenny added. “I’m very proud how these young women have represented the University of Delaware. Hopefully we will bring a championship back again.
Delaware looks for its third straight CAA Championship and will face the winner of the #1 Towson vs. #4 Hofstra semifinal match played later Saturday.
The CAA champion will earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
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