FAIRFAX, Va., Nov. 5, 2011 – Redshirt freshman setter Kristi Richardson (Glen Allen, Va./Hermitage) recorded the first triple-double by a Duke since Emilee Hussack (2002-05) in 2005 to lead the James Madison volleyball team to a 3-2 win over George Mason at the RAC Gymnasium in Fairfax, Va., on Saturday night.
The win clinched a berth in the 2011 Colonial Athletic Association Volleyball Championships for JMU as it won by set scores of 20-25, 25-22, 25-21, 21-25, 15-12 to improve to 19-8 overall and 8-4 in CAA play. George Mason dropped its 10th straight game to fall to 7-17 and 2-10 in league play.
Richardson paced the Dukes to a .199 attack percentage as she collected 50 assists, adding 18 digs and 11 kills. It was the first 50-plus assist effort by a JMU setter since junior Megan Wiechmann (Sunland, Calif./Village Christian) had 50 in a four-set win over Central Florida on Sept. 17, 2010. Redshirt junior outside hitter Natalie Abel (Washington, Pa./Trinity) added 21 kills, 20 digs, four assists, three blocks and a service ace for the first 20 kill/20 dig effort since junior outside hitter Danielle Erb (Tampa, Fla./Plant) had 25 kills and 22 digs against Georgia State on Oct. 9, 2010. She committed just six errors in 47 attempts for a .319 attack percentage.
Erb and senior outside hitter Holly Wall (Kaukauna, Wisc./Kaukauna) each added double-doubles with Wall turning in 15 kills and 13 digs while Erb contributed 10 kills and 17 digs. Sophomore middle blocker Kelly Maguire (Long Valley, N.J./West Morris Central) had a team-high four blocks and seven kills while sophomore libero Katie Daorai (Tampa, Fla./Plant) chipped in 11 digs and two assists.
George Mason was led by Lana Zonjic, Tori Price and Noelle Fanella, each of whom finished with double-doubles in kills and digs. Zonjic had a team-high 16 kills and 17 digs while Fanella led the team with 18 digs and 15 kills. Price finished with 12 digs, 10 kills, five assists and three blocks. Laura Spencer led all players with eight blocks and added nine kills on .333 hitting. Setter Lauren Goodell chipped in 47 assists and 10 digs for a double-double while libero Kelly McCarter had 17 digs and a service ace.
The Patriots out-hit the Dukes .229 to .199 and held a 13-7 edge in blocks. JMU had eight aces to Mason’s five and picked up 87 digs to 83 for Mason.
After falling behind by as many as seven in set one, Madison battled all the way back to cut the score to 20-19, forcing a Patriot timeout. Out of the break, GMU won four consecutive points and five of the final six to claim the early 1-0 lead.
JMU lost the first three points of set two to fall behind early, but responded with a 7-1 run to take its first lead of the match. The Dukes extended their lead out to as much as seven at 19-12 before Mason cut it down to two at 22-20. The upperclassmen responded for Madison as Abel notched two kills and Wall one to close out the set 25-22. Wall paced the team in the set with six kills on .235 hitting while Richardson had two kills, 13 assists and five digs.
Set three was a back-and-forth affair featuring 10 tie scores and four lead changes. After Mason got a kill from Tori Price to go up 20-19, the Dukes used a 6-1 run fueled by a three-point run with freshman outside hitter Martha Stewart (Naperville, Ill./Waubonsie Valley) on the serve to close out the set.
JMU jumped all over Mason at the beginning of set four, taking a 5-0 lead. The Patriots responded by winning 10 of the next 13 points to take a 10-8 lead. They would extend the lead out to as large seven at 24-17 before the Dukes briefly rallied with a four-point run. However, a Madison service error put an end to the threat and set the match in to a decisive fifth set.
In the fifth set, the team’s traded leads early with no one leading by more than two. A JMU attack error and a kill by Zonjic put Mason up 9-8 before Abel (two kills, one block) and Maguire (one kill, one block) helped Madison take control of the set at 13-10. Richardson closed out the match with a pair of kills in the final three points, giving JMU the 15-12 win.
The Dukes return home to Sinclair Gymnasium/Godwin Hall next weekend as they host Delaware (Nov. 11, 7 p.m.) and Towson (Nov. 12, 7:30 p.m.) for the final weekend of CAA play.
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