Volleyball Advances to National Championship Semi-Finals

Photo by Justo Photography

Written by Chris Pendleton

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The Southern Virginia University women's volleyball team won both of its matches at the USCAA national championship on Friday advancing to the tournament semi-finals on Saturday, Nov. 12 at noon against host school Spalding University.

After going 2-1 during Thursday's pool play, 5th-seeded Southern Virginia concluded its pool play Friday morning by upsetting 3rd-seeded Penn State-Fayette 2-1.

Southern Virginia dropped the opening set to Penn State-Fayette 23-25, but responded with a dominant 25-15 win in Game 2 forcing a tie-breaking third set, which the Knights took 15-11.

With the upset victory, Southern Virginia advanced past pool play to the national championship's eight-team, bracket-style tournament where the Knights took on 4th-seeded UC Clermont in the quarter finals.

Despite facing a second consecutive favored opponent, the Knights were undaunted sweeping past UC Clermont in straight sets (25-11, 25-20, 25-13). 

"We came out really strong in our quarter-finals match," said first-year head coach Michelle Mahaffey, who has the Knights back in the national tournament after a one-year hiatus last season. "We opened with great intensity and played really well together."

With Friday's win over UC Clermont, the Knights advance to Saturday's semi-finals where they will be favored for the first time in three matches when they face tournament host, 6th-seeded Spalding University at noon.

If Southern Virginia is able to defeat Spalding on its home court, the Knights will advance to the title game at 4 p.m. for the first time since 2004 when volleyball won its last USCAA national championship under then head coach Mike Harmon.

With a loss, Southern Virginia will play in the tournament's consolation match at 2 p.m.

For complete coverage of the 2011 USCAA volleyball national tournament, vist theuscaa.com.