The 15th ranked University of Mary Washington volleyball team opened with a flourish and never looked back in a 3-0 victory over 24th ranked Christopher Newport University on Saturday afternoon in the 2016 Capital Athletic Conference Championship before an enthusiastic crowd at Ron Rosner Arena that saw UMW win its first league title since 1991. Games scores were 25-13, 25-17, 25-14; the Eagles enter the NCAA Tournament with a record of 28-3.
The Eagles were on target from the outset, making just four attacking errors all afternoon while hitting .398 as a unit, while limiting CNU to .121.
When asked of his team's success, fourth-year UMW head coach Matt Troy replied that the most important aspect to the Eagles' success was "the players believing in our mission from the moment we recruited them. We have such a tremendous group of young women who work hard, day in and day out, and give everything they have for this program."
In the first, after the Captains took the first point, the Eagles went on a 5-0 run, keyed by a pair of Ryan Cho service aces. After CNU stemmed the tide, the Eagles reeled off four more points, with senior Emma Olson and freshman Savannah Powers providing kills, and UMW led, 9-2. The Captains would pull to within 11-5, but would pull no closer, as freshman Skyler Sisk connected for a pair of kills to close the game with a 25-13 victory.
The second game saw back and forth action from the start, with the score standing tied at one, two, three, and four. UMW scored two straight to grab the lead, and gradually built the lead, using kills from freshman Peyton Dunow and Olson to lead 9-6, and kills from junior Rachel Hendricks and Dunow to lead, 15-11.
A Captain comeback trimmed the deficit to 17-15, but UMW rolled to five straight points to grab momentum. Kills from Powers and sophomore Leslie Walters gave UMW a 22-15 advantage, and Powers scored the final two kills in a 25-17 win.
The third game was similar to the first, where CNU scored first and UMW answered with five straight points. With a 13-9 edge, UMW made a run with nine of the next 13 points to grab full momentum and a 21-12 lead. After CNU scored two straight, the Eagles bounced back with four straight points to claim their first league title since 1991, the first year of the Capital Athletic Conference.
Olson again spraked UMW's efforts, with five kills in six attempts with no errors, and added 28 assists and seven digs. Hendricks and Powers scored 10 kills and three digs apiece, and Dunow added six kills. Walters and Sisk each had four kills without an error. Junior Jenna Yost provided yeoman work defensively, scoring 12 digs and adding five assists.
The Eagles will advance to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year next weekend. UMW will learn its destination during the NCAA Selection show, which will air live on NCAA.com on Monday at 12:30 p.m.