No. 1 Emory Volleyball Advances To Regional Finals Following Win Over Washington & Lee
The No. 1-ranked Emory volleyball team captured a hard-fought 3-1 win over Washington and Lee University in the semifinal round of the Atlanta, Georgia, Regional of the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Eagles of head coach Jenny McDowell rang up their 16th straight win and raised their overall record to 33-4 following a 25-17, 25-19, 24-26, 25-17 victory over the Generals who saw their campaign come to a close with a 28-7 mark.
Emory ended the contest hitting 17.6 percent (57-28—165) compared to W&L’s .065 percent (37-27—153). The Eagles held a 79-69 cushion in digs as well as a 12-9 edge in total blocks.
For the second straight night junior Jessica McAlvany turned in a big performance for Emory, notching a match-high 16 kills, tying her second-highest total of the season and 24th outing of 10 more terminations this year. Senior Amelia McCall came through with her 16th double-double of the season with 13 put-aways and 20 digs while sophomore Breanah Bourque tallied 12 kills along with five block assists. Junior Ali Wright chipped seven kills and was a force at the net as well with seven block assists. Junior setter Natalie Schonefeld dished out 46 assists and contributed 10 digs in the win.
Pacing the Washington & Lee offensive attack was M.A. Boles with 15 kills. Junior Lindsey Dee was the other member of the team to post double digits in that category with 10 while registering four total blocks (1-3). Sophomore Cameron Hill turned in a strong defensive effort with 24 digs.
Emory led from start to finish in the first set, scoring the match’s first five points and building a 10-2 lead in the early stages. Behind four kills from Bourque and three from McAlvany, the Eagles hit 25.9 percent in the first game while holding W&L to -.129 percent.
The second set was a closely played affair that saw the Eagles hold a precarious 17-16 lead before going on a key 6-1 spurt, with McCall recording a kill and service ace in that stretch, to assume an insurmountable 23-17 lead. After the Generals narrowed the deficit to 24-19, McAlvany gave the Eagles a 2-0 lead in match when she closed the set out with a kill.
Emory appeared to be in the driver’s seat in the third game, when a successful attack by McCall gave it a 19-14 lead. The scrappy Generals fought back with three unanswered points to cut the gap to 19-17 before a McAlvany kill pushed Emory’s advantage back to three points, 20-17. A kill by McCall enabled Emory to have match point at 24-22 but W&L responded with four consecutive points, the last coming on a termination by Louise Brooks, to escape with a 26-24 decision that forced a fourth game.
Emory raced out to a 17-10 bulge and enjoyed an 18-11 cushion before W&L manage to cut the margin to 18-14. However, the Eagles staved off the Generals’ bid for a comeback with a 7-2 sprint to close out the match, the final point coming on McCall’s third ace of the evening.
Emory, which entered the weekend as the No. 1 seed, now advances to the Atlanta Regional Championship on Sunday where it will meet the No. 2 seed and 20th-ranked Cal Lutheran Regals (29-3). Match time is 4:00 p.m.