(OWINGS MILLS, Md.) – The 10th-ranked Carnegie Mellon University volleyball team opened the NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship at Stevenson University with a 3-2 win against the Eagles of Eastern University Friday, November 10. The Tartans improve to 30-4 while the Eagles complete the season with a 20-13 mark.
The game marked Carnegie Mellon's fourth appearance at the NCAA Championship tournament under 13-year head coach Kim Kelly and the fifth in program history. The NCAA victory is the second for the Tartans under Kelly, as the program also advanced to the second round in 2008.
Carnegie Mellon took the first set 25-21, as the Tartans were down 12-11 and then scored six of the next seven points to take a 17-13 lead and never looked back. In the second set, the Cardinal and Gray trailed 23-19 before scoring the last six points of the set to claim a 25-23 win and a 2-0 advantage. Eastern took the third and fourth sets by the scores of 25-22 and 25-21, respectively.
In the fifth and deciding set, Eastern jumped out to a 5-3 lead before the Tartans rattled off four straight points to take a 7-5 advantage. Carnegie Mellon then pushed its lead to 10-6 following two attack errors by the Eagles. After a service error by the Tartans made it 10-7, the Tartans recorded the final five points needed for the win via four kills and a point off an Eagle attack error.
Junior Lauren Mueller (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown STEM Academy) led the Tartan attack with 19 kills and a hitting percentage of .321. She also recorded one block solo, three block assists, and 13 digs. Senior Eliza Donohue (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) put down 14 kills and had four block assists and one block solo.
Sophomore middle blocker Sahara Aqui (Miramar, Fla./Archbishop McCarthy) led the Tartans at the net with six block solos and one block assist while sophomore libero Kayla Yew (San Francisco, Calif./Sacred Heart Cathedral) led with 29 digs.
Sophomore Maia So-Holloway (Oakland, Calif./Sacred Heart Cathedral) and junior Amanda Thiele (Lakeland, Fla./George Jenkins) shared the setting responsibilities with So-Holloway tallying 28 assists and Thiele 18.
The Tartans advance to the second round of the NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship and will play Swarthmore College on Saturday, November 11. The match is set to start at 3:30 p.m. on the campus of Stevenson University in Owings Mills, Maryland.