The No. 6-ranked Emory volleyball team turned in an energized effort on Saturday afternoon as it defeated No. 1-ranked Washington University, 3-1, in the title match of the University Athletic Association Championships. The Eagles boosted their overall record to 31-5 following a 25-15, 22-25, 25-16, 25-18, decision over the Bears who slipped to 29-3.
Emory pounded out 60 kills over the four sets and concluded the afternoon hitting .208 (60-25—168) while holding the visitors to a .125 (42-22—160) showing. The Eagles finished with a 77-72 advantage in digs and a 5.5-5.0 edge in total blocks.
Senior Breanah Bourque led the Emory offensive attack with a match-high 17 kills en route to registering a fine .333 hitting mark (17-5—36). Her kills total represented her 27th match of the campaign with double figures in that category and upped her season total to 460, good for 10th place on the school's list. Sophomore Cami Silverman recorded a dozen successful attack attempts and chipped in 13 digs, her sixth double-double (kills/digs) in the last seven matches and 10th on the year. Sophomore Hannah Everett closed out a fine championships, racking up eight kills, hitting .353 (8-2—17) and recording five digs. In Emory's two matches over the weekend, Everett hit .324 with 17 terminations and five errors in 37 swings. Sophomore Taylor Erwin also closed out a memorable weekend by pacing all players with 21 digs, increasing her season total to 596, good for the No. 1 mark on the Eagles' yearly ladder.
After hitting .297 in claiming the opening set, Emory saw Wash U bounce back with a .261 attack percentage in claiming the second game and knotting the match at 1-1. From there, the Eagles used precision passing and timely defense over the last two sets, hold the Bears to a .053 hitting percentage. Emory never trailed in the third set and used kills by Everett and Silverman as part of a 4-0 run that gave it a 9-4 lead. Wash U stayed within striking distance before four unanswered points by Emory, capped by a kill by freshman setter Sydney Miles, expanded a 17-13 lead into a 21-13 cushion. From that point Emory handled its business and in the process claimed a 2-1 lead in the match.
In the fourth game, Emory was nursing a 4-3 lead before a key 6-0 surge, keyed by a pair of Silverman kills, allowed it to bolt to a 10-3 advantage. The Bears countered with an 9-4 run that cut the Eagles' lead to 14-12. The teams traded sideouts before Emory came up with a 5-0 sprint to increase its advantage to 20-13. Wash U did manage to draw to within 22-18 but a kill by Everett, followed by a Bear's hitting miscue and a kill by Leah Jacobs sealed the outcome for Emory.
The win today allowed Emory to win its third league crown in the past four years and all five of its titles over the last eight seasons. Today's meeting against Wash U represented the ninth straight year the Eagles and Bears had met for the championship.
Emory will now turn its attention to the upcoming NCAA Tournament that begins next week with regional play. The Eagles will learn who, when and where they will be playing on Monday morning (11:00 am EST) on the Division III Selection Show streamed by www.ncaa.com