Volleyball Wins SCAC, Loses in First Round of NCAA Tournament
By: Andrew Pratt
The Southwestern University Volleyball team has done it again. This past weekend, the Pirates defeated Trinity University to claim the SCAC Championship title. This was the fourth title for the Pirates, and first title since 2009.
Winning the conference tournament gave the Pirates an automatic bid to the NCAA National Tournament.
The Pirates travel to California for the first round of the NCAA Tournament. They face Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, a nationally ranked opponent that the Pirates faced earlier this season. In that contest, the Pirates came out victorious, defeating the Athenas 3-1.
En route to the championship match, the Pirates faced Texas Lutheran University on Friday. The Pirates handily defeated the Bulldogs 3-0. The Trinity Tigers had a much tougher road to Saturday’s final match. The Tigers faced Austin College early on Friday and upset #8 Colorado College that afternoon.
In last Saturday’s contest, the Pirates started off the match off strong taking the first set easily. The second set was a back and forth battle but ultimately went to the Tigers after coming back from a six point deficit. The third set swung back in the Pirates favor after a close match. Finally, in the fourth, the Pirates were able to put on a defensive showcase, holding the Tigers to their lowest percentage of the match and clinching the title.
The Pirates were lead by senior Kaitlyn Foster, who recorded 22 kills and 0 errors, and juniors Nikki Welch, recording 41 sets and 14 digs, and Andie Alford, recording 36 digs and 2 aces. Both Welch and Alford received All-Tournament recognitions for their work. Foster was named the tournament Most Valuable Player.
Foster and Welch also picked up season-long recognition. Prior to the tournament, the duo received First-Team All SCAC Honors. Fellow teammate and senior Olivia Drummond received Second Team recognition for her work on the Pirates defense.
The Pirates finish off the regular season with a 31-4 record. Two of the losses come from conference foe, Colorado College.
At the national tournament, the Pirates had a quick exit. The ladies fell in straight sets to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps earlier Friday.
Prior to the match, both Foster and Welch received further recognition for their exploits on the court. Both of them were named to the AVCA Division III All-Region First Team.
The loss ends the season for the volleyball team.