NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - The Marymount University women's volleyball team continued its historic season on Saturday evening, earning a thrilling five-set victory over host Christopher Newport University in the NCAA Division III Regional Semifinals, 3-2 (17-25, 25-23, 18-25, 15-10).
After winning the program's first-ever NCAA tournament match on Friday night, the Saints continued the momentum on Saturday night with a tight matchup against the Captains, a squad they have fell two twice in the 2019 season.
The first set didn't go as planned for Marymount, falling 25-17 to drop into a 1-0 deficit in the match. However, the squad responded with a strong .342 hitting percentage and 15 kills in the second set to battle out a close 25-23 victory.
It was a close second game that had the Saints separating itself with a 7-2 stretch late to take a 23-18 advantage. The Captains didn't go away, answering with a 5-1 run to get within one at 24-23, but a service error put the final touch on the set to even the match out, 1-1.
Similar to the first set, the third game wasn't the strongest showing by the Saints, only hitting .049 and dropping a 25-18 decision to fall back behind 2-1 in the match.
The start of the fourth looked to be a continual momentum shift in favor of the Captains, as they built up a 6-1 lead off the start. However, Marymount proved other plans for the set after rattling off seven points to the Captains' one to take an 8-7 advantage.
It remained tight the rest of the way through the game, as CNU grabbed a slight 22-21 edge late, needing just three more points to finish off the match. Again, the Saints didn't go away, registering four-straight points off a kill by junior Myah Cordrey, a Captain attack error, and back-to-back blocks by Cordrey, sophomore Caylee Shelton and junior Maggie Viniard to send the match to a deciding set.
With the momentum in full swing for the Saints, the fifth set played completely their way, never losing the lead and capping it off with a junior Mykael Johnson kill for the 15-10 victory and a trip to the Regional Finals on Sunday.
Three Saints finished with double-digit kills led by Johnson with 22. She was joined by freshman Elissa Munsterman with 16 and junior Alexa Marcum with 10. Viniard dealt out a team-high 49 assists to go along with a 18 digs for another double-double, while Johnson also added a double-double with 16 digs.
Defensively, senior Theresa Buscemi dove out for a team-high 20 digs, while junior Jasmine Roy added 19. Behind a team 16 total blocks, Cordrey was a consistent wall with four block assists and junior Michaella Ulses had three assists and a solo.
The Saints continue on Sunday at 1 p.m., in the Regional Finals against Trinity (Texas), looking to book a ticket to the National Quarterfinals next weekend at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.