LOUISVILLE, Ky. After a strong start in pool play, the Southern Virginia Volleyball team could not overcome eventual champion Florida College, and then beat UC-Clermont for third place in the tournament. After sweeping their first two opponents, The Knights headed into the second day of pool play in a confident mood.
Facing off Talladega, the Knights improved to 3-0 in pool play as they swept the Tornadoes 25-10 and 25-13. The final match in Pool 2 play pitted the Knights against perennial USCAA powers Florida College. The Falcons proved that they were the team to beat as they swept SVU 13-25 and 19-25.
"Those first two matches were a night-and-day performance," said Head Coach Brian Pendleton. "We really took the game to Talladega, but we were hesitant against Florida. Florida College is a great team, but I think we didn't play like we should have. We went back and watched the video of the game, and we definitely were better prepared in the rematch."
Before the rematch, a back-and-forth match against Robert Morris- Springfield was on the cards. The Knights went down early 2-0 to RM-S. A passionate rallying cry from Setter Ali Krebs motivated SVU, and they swept the last three sets to earn a trip to the semi-finals and the rematch with Florida College.
"We were down and out," said Pendleton. "I'm proud of these ladies. We could have packed it in, and gone home. They responded to Ali's challenge, and got the win they deserved."
The winning streak would not continue, as the Falcons were able to overcome the streaking Knights. SVU had notched up the match at one-set apiece, and were up 22-20, but consecutive errors on the serving and receiving end allowed Florida to get back in the set, and eventually win the set and the match.
"They (Florida) are a fantastic team," said Pendleton. "They have good athletes, and good volleyball players. We couldn't match that sort of skill set. We hurt ourselves with errors when we needed to play an error-free game."
SVU was able to regroup and finish off University of Cincinnati- Clermont for the third place finish. The Knights finished the match 25-19, 25-14 and 25-17.
"This team did such a great job this year," said Pendleton. "We had a challenging beginning. We played an NAIA national champion, and three of the four teams in the 2008 D.III Final Four. It took us a while to get going, but we did, and this finish is a great feeling. We'll work to get better for next year. I'm very proud of how these ladies performed."
Ali Krebs finished off a solid year as she was named to the All-Tournament Team. Aubrey Muaina was also a key player for the knights, and was named to the All-Tournament team as well. SVU finished the season 23-14.