TOWSON, Md., Nov. 17, 2012 – Senior outside hitter Danielle Erb (Tampa, Fla./Plant) had a double-double with 13 kills and 16 digs and junior libero Katie Daorai (Tampa, Fla./Plant) had a team-high 23 digs, but second-seeded Delaware held off a rally from sixth-seeded James Madison for a 3-1 win in the semifinals of the Colonial Athletic Association Volleyball Championship on Saturday.
Delaware won by set scores of 25-17, 16-25, 25-19, 25-23 to improve to 16-13 on the season. It advances to Sunday’s championship game at 5 p.m. against the winner of Towson and Hofstra’s semifinal. JMU finishes its season at 13-16.
Erb added three blocks and an assist to her double-double to pace the Dukes with 14.5 points. Freshman outside hitter Meghan Niski (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) contributed 13 kills, eight digs and three blocks, while fellow rookie middle blocker MacKenzie Kleespies (Lincoln University, Pa./Avon Grove) added 11 kills on .321 hitting, 11 digs and three blocks. Sophomore middle blocker Lizzy Briones (Siloam Springs, Ark./Siloam Springs) led the team with four blocks. Freshman Sarah Patterson (Roanoke, Va./Hidden Valley) and senior Megan Wiechmann (Sunland, Calif./Village Christian) combined for 41 assists, 15 digs, two kills and a block from the setter position.
Outside hitter Alissa Alker paced the Blue Hens with 16 kills, 14 digs, five blocks, two aces and two assists. She was joined in double figure kills by outside hitter Katie Hank with 10. CAA Defensive Player of the Year Ariel Shonk led all players with 30 digs, while setter Mackenzie Olsen had 39 assists, 12 digs, four kills and an ace. Middle blocker Chandler Bryant had a match-high six blocks.
UD outhit JMU .162 to .152 in the match and held a 4-1 edge in service aces. Both teams had seven blocks with Madison edging Delaware 81-77 in digs.
Each team cruised to a rather comfortable win in the first two sets to head into the break tied 1-1. Delaware took control of the third set with a 6-2 run late in the set and went on to win, 25-19.
Leading 20-19 late in set four, the Dukes went on a 3-0 run fueled by two kills and a block from Kleespies to go ahead 23-19. The Blue Hens avoided going to a fifth-set tiebreaker by winning the final six points, including two blocks and a kill from Alissa Alker.
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