BUENA VISTA, Va. — The Southern Virginia University women's volleyball team has wrapped up its outstanding season, finishing with a 15-10 overall mark and a 4-3 record against CAC competition.
"I learned early on that our team had a lot of fight and heart and could compete," said first-year head coach Debby Baker. "I didn't know how we would compete or respond to adversity since we were a young team, but the players gave everything they could give and I really appreciate it. They surpassed everyone's expectations."
The Knights started the season extremely strong by winning their first five games, including all four at the Cougar Classic in Danville, Va. The squad rattled off four more consecutive wins later in the season, including impressive victories against Roanoke, Salisbury, and Virginia Wesleyan.
For the second year in a row the Knights earned the right to host a CAC Quarterfinal matchup, this time against Salisbury, who got their revenge in beating Southern Virginia in straight sets.
"There are a lot of things that I enjoyed about the season," continued Baker. "You could see that everyone was playing for the team, the bench always cheered hard for their teammates, and there was a special energy the team brought to the arena. It's very hard to put into words how proud I was of my team."
The Knights' attack was spurred on by setter LaRee Crockett, who was named All-CAC First Team and finished the year with 806 assists. The junior led the conference in assists per set with 9.48 and registered 50 or more assists on three occasions. She was also named CAC Player of the Week in early September.
Also leading the charge was sophomore Hailey Lohnes, who was second in the conference in kills per set at 3.05 and was tabbed CAC Player of the Week on one occasion. Allison Tiegs, the lone senior on the squad, also made a huge impact as she recorded 202 kills. Outside hitter Kaely Rath had quite the year as well with 2.39 kills per set.
Libero Mykynli Knight came up huge all season long, tallying 452 digs and 5.45 digs per set, good for second in the CAC. Also leading the defensive effort was freshman Ella Burrows, who led the squad with 73 total blocks.
Looking ahead, Tiegs will be the only player the Knights lose to graduation, and they will miss her leadership greatly. Southern Virginia does look to bring back a majority of the team from this year, however, providing some valuable continuity for the squad as they move forward.
"I look forward to seeing the team continue to grow and develop as people and as volleyball players," Baker concluded. "We have a bunch of great girls that bring different talents and gifts to our team."