WHEELING, W. Va. – For the second straight year, the Urbana University women’s volleyball team came up short in five sets at the Mountain East Conference Tournament.
The sixth-seeded Blue Knights (21-12) fell to No. 3 seed Charleston (17-16) on Thursday afternoon, 25-16, 23-25, 25-21, 20-25, 15-13, at Wheeling Jesuit University’s McDonough Center.
Despite the crushing blow to end the season, UU closes the historic campaign under first-year head coach Kara Hellmann with a 21-12 overall record – the program’s highest win total in 12 years.
“I think it was everything that we expected, it was a battle right down to the very end,” Hellmann said of Thursday’s match.
Senior Madison Davis and sophomore Graham High School graduate Kaitlin Trace led the way with a match-high 19 kills apiece, while freshman Hannah Delor posted her 12th double-double with 17 kills and 13 digs. In addition, sophomore Deandra Atwood produced a 20-20 performance in assists and digs. Sophomore Anna Davis dished out a team-high 33 assists.
The Blue Knights led in every set during a contest that featured 28 ties and 18 lead changes. UU also out-hit UC, .122 to .103, and produced eight more digs than the Golden Eagles.
“I think it just came down to those little plays at bad moments that shot us in the foot,” Hellmann said. “There were some panic plays that are uncharacteristic for us, and there were times we did not have the teamwork and communication that this team typically has.”
In the deciding set, UU led 6-3 early on following a kill from Davis. That turned out to be her final point as a Blue Knight as the lone senior ends her career with 1,070 kills.
Then, UC made a late surge to even the score at 7-7 and eventually kept all the momentum with a 14-11 advantage. A block assist from Davis and Delor made it 14-13, but the Golden Eagles clinched the match on a Blue Knight attack error.