WHEELING, W. Va. – After one of the best seasons in program history, the No. 8 Shaw University women's volleyball team came up short on Friday night in a 3-0 (25-9, 25-11 and 25-10) loss to No. 1 and defending NCAA Division II National Champion Wheeling Jesuit University in the 2016 NCAA Tournament First Round at the McDonough Center.
Despite the loss, the Lady Bears had a tremendous record-setting season to look back on.
Sophomore Kelly Murphy (Mukwonago, WI) and freshman Aisja Jones (Red Oak, TX) tallied six and five kills in the match for the Lady Bears (22-8), who advanced to the NCAA advanced to the NCAA Tournament after winning the 2016 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Championship for the first time in 21 years.
Sophomore Michelle Olmeda-Gonzalez (San Juan, PR) dished out 16 assists while Jones and Murphy tallied seven and six digs in the loss.
After trading the first couple of points in the opening set, the Cardinals scored 10-straight points to lead 12-2 over the Lady Bears. A kill by freshman Tapanga Moten (New Orleans, LA) led to Shaw embarking on a 5-1 run before WJU extended its lead 21-9 on an attack error by the Lady Bears. The Cardinals scored the last four points to take the 25-9 set win.
Five miscues by Shaw gave the Cardinals a 5-1 lead in the second frame. The Lady Bears snapped a scoring drought on a kill by freshman Amari Fletcher (Phoenix, AZ) as the score showed 11-2 in favor of WJU. Shaw cut the deficit to 11 points before the Cardinals controlled a 6-3 push with a kill by Maddy Smyth giving WJU the 25-11 set win.
With three ties and one lead change, the Lady Bears hung close with the Cardinals in the third set. WJU used a 7-1 push to expand its lead 13-7 over Shaw before a kill by Morghan Robinson (Anaheim, CA) cut the deficit to five points. The Lady Bears got within five points one more time but WJU punched in an 11-1 spurt which proved to be too much for Shaw as the Lady Bears fell 25-10, falling 3-0 for the contest
Kayce Krucki led the charge for Wheeling Jesuit on 10 kills and eight digs. Andrea Thobe tallied a match-high 31 assists while Breanna Kramer and Sam Obringer collected 12 digs apiece.
The Cardinals advance to Saturday night's Atlantic Region Semifinals. The Cardinals will face the Lady Cats of Pittsburgh-Johnstown, which defeated California (Pa.) 3-1 in the day's third match, in a 7:30 p.m. match.
For more information on Shaw women's volleyball and its 11 varsity sports, visit www.shawbears.com.