Delaware Earns 2011 CAA Volleyball Crown In Five Sets
NEWARK, Del. (Nov. 20, 2011) - Top-seeded Delaware captured its fourth CAA Volleyball Championship in the past five seasons, outlasting VCU in five sets at the Carpenter Sports Building in Newark, Del. on Sunday night. The Blue Hens earn the automatic bid and will represent the Colonial Athletic Association in the NCAA Tournament.
Delaware took the match by set scores of 24-26, 25-17, 15-25, 25-18, 15-9 and improved to 20-12 on the year. VCU, who defeated both second-seed Northeastern and third-seed Towson in five sets fell just short in its bid for the school's second ever CAA crown. The Rams finished the season at 17-16.
Tournament Most Outstanding Performer Kim Stewart led the Delaware charge with 11 kills and a team-high 20 digs. Junior outside hitter Alissa Alker added a match-high 18 kills and 13 digs for the Blue Hens.
"We came into tonight saying protect this house," said Stewart. "All of us just came together as a team, as a family and played our hearts out."
VCU's Jessica Ojukwu had 14 kills and four digs and setter Cecilia Aragao recorded 41 assists and 19 digs on the night.
"I thought VCU had a great weekend," said Delaware head coach Bonnie Kenny. "We just had to find a way to be a little bit better and fortunately tonight we were."
The Rams captured a tight first set, 26-24, as Courtney Hott and Aragao each finished off kills to give VCU an early advantage. Hott and Aragao each had three kills apiece in the opening frame for VCU.
Delaware jumped out to an early 6-0 lead in the second frame as they cruised to a 25-17 set win. CAA Setter of the Year Renee Tomko had 13 assists for the Blue Hens in the set.
VCU pushed back in the third set, using an 11-3 scoring run to take control of the frame after being tied at 9-9. Aragao produced nine of her assists and eight digs in the third tilt.
The Blue Hens seized the fourth set, taking an early 6-3 lead and pushing it to a commanding 18-10 margin. Delaware forced a deciding fifth set as Alker and Stewart combined for seven kills and nine digs in the fourth.
Behind an energized home crowd, Delaware opened the deciding set taking a 6-1 lead to take control. VCU clawed its way back to 12-9 on a kill by Ojukwu, but a Blue Hen kill and two Ram attack errors ended the match.
For the match Delaware hit for .165 and held VCU to only a .094 hitting percentage. Delaware will now await its NCAA opponent, as the field will be announced Sunday, Nov. 27.
Alissa Alker, OH, Delaware
Cecilia Aragao, S, VCU
Courtney Hott, MB, VCU
Nichole Kurz, MH, Northeastern
Kim Stewart, OH, Delaware (Most Outstanding Player)
Renee Tomko, S, Delaware
Holly Wall, OH, James Madison
CAA VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Barbara Viera Court at the Carpenter Sports Building - Newark, Del.
November 18 - Quarterfinals
#6 VCU 3, #3 Towson 2 - F
#5 James Madison 3, #5 Georgia State 0 - F
November 19 - Semifinals
#6 VCU 3, #2 Northeastern 2 - F
#1 Delaware 3, #5 James Madison 2 - F
November 20 - Championship
#1 Delaware 3, #6 VCU 2 - F