Elon, Georgia Southern Win; Advance to Play in Semifinals
BOONE, N.C. - The final semifinal match is set for the 2010 Southern Conference Volleyball Championship, as the Elon Phoenix will take on the Georgia Southern Eagles for the right to play in the Sunday championship match. No. 1 North seed Elon swept No. 4 South seed Davidson, 3-0, while No. 2 South seed Georgia Southern defeated host Appalachian State, 3-1, at the Holmes Convocation Center in Boone, N.C.
In the opening match of the second session, Elon Phoenix swept the Davidson Wildcats, 3-0 (25-22, 29-27, 28-26). The Phoenix improved to 21-13 while the Wildcats finished the season at 16-18.
Elon took the first set, 25-22, after trailing for most of the set. The Phoenix trailed until they tied the Wildcats at 18, the sixth tie of the set. Elon took the lead on the very next point and never looked back, as they won seven of the next 11 point. The Phoenix were led by second team all-conference selection senior Sarah Schermerhorn, who recorded six kills on seven attempts with no errors for an .857 attack percentage. The middle blocker also recorded a block assist in the opening set.
After trailing 11-18 in the second set, Elon rallied to tie the set at 22 before taking set, 29-27. The Phoenix, who fought off two Davidson set points, were led by junior Traci Stewart. Stewart tallied five kills on 11 attempts with one error for a hitting percentage of .364. She also had three digs and one assist in the second set.
In the final set, it took Elon four match points before closing out the set, 28-26. Schermerhorn led the Phoenix attack in the third set with a .700 hitting percentage on seven kills on 10 attempts with no errors. She also recorded two digs in the set. Six of the nine ties in the set occurred once the score was squared at 21.
Overall, Elon was led by Schermerhorn with a team-high 15 kills on 26 attempts. She also hit a team-best .426. Also for the Phoenix, Stewart recorded a double-double with 10 kills and 11 digs. In a losing effort, Davidson was led by senior setter Hayley Lawson, who recorded 42 assists, nine digs and one service ace.
In the nightcap, the Georgia Southern Eagles defeated the Appalachian State Mountaineers, 3-1 (25-20, 21-25, 25-18, 25-16). The win moves the Eagles to 25-8 on the year, while the Mountaineers finished the year 18-11.
In the opening set, Georgia Southern used a 4-1 start to win the set, 25-20. Leading the attack for the Eagles was sophomore setter Kate Van Dyke, who had 12 assists and three kills on five attempts with one error for a .400 hitting percentage. Van Dyke, a first team all-conference member, also tallied four digs defensively for the Eagles in the set.
The second set went back and forth before Appalachian State used a 7-0 run, while down 10-11, to win the set, 25-21. On the Mountaineers fourth set points of the set, sophomore middle blocker Allison Blasingame captured the set with her fourth kill of the set. Defensively, leading Appalachian State was second team all-conference performer Courtney Rhein. The sophomore libero had seven digs and one kill in her only attempt.
In the third set, Georgia Southern used a 7-2 run late in the set to pull away and win, 25-18. The Mountaineers opened the set 3-0, and the set saw six early ties until the Eagles pulled ahead 9-8 to take the lead the rest of the way. Van Dyke led the Eagles on both ends, as she had seven assists and one kill on two attempts with no errors on the offensive side. On the defensive side for the Eagles, Van Dyke recorded eight digs.
The fourth set belonged to Georgia Southern, as they jumped out to a 19-4 lead and took the set, 25-16. Leading the way for the Eagles in the final set was second team all-conference Bethany Sanford. The junior outside hitter had three kills on eight attempts with no errors, and she also tallied two block assists in the set.
Overall, the Eagles were led by Van Dyke and Sanford. Van Dyke had a match-high 38 assists, a team-high 20 digs, five kills and one block assist. Sanford registered 13 kills on 34 attempts with one error for a .353 attack percentage for the match. Sanford also had four digs and three block assists. In a losing effort, Appalachian State was led junior setter Kasey Sauls, who had a team-high 24 assists and 11 digs.
Saturday's matchup between Elon and Georgia Southern is schedule for 4:30 p.m. The winner will advance to the conference championship at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 21.
Photos from the 2010 Southern Conference Volleyball Championship can be purchased at SoConPhotos.com