MOUNT BERRY, Ga. - The 20th win for Sewanee volleyball did not come easy, as the Tigers played to five sets with the Lynx of Rhodes, but it was Sewanee who came away with the win in the quarterfinals of the SAA Championship, 3-2, Friday afternoon, from the Cage Center.
INSIDE THE MATCHUP
Final Score: Sewanee (20-7) 3, Rhodes (14-13) 2 (25-16, 17-25, 27-29, 25-21, 21-19)
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HOW IT HAPPENED
-The teams traded the first 10 points of the opening set, but after Sewanee tied the set at five, the Tigers went on a 5-0 run thanks to two service aces by Liz Giles.
-Rhodes attempted to make it interesting, but the Tigers pulled away late in the set, pulling away with an 8-3 run to win the opening set, 25-16.
-The momentum shifted to the Lynx in the second set, going on a 9-3 run to start the set.
-Using a .300 attack percentage (13-4-30), the Lynx held off the Tigers, 25-17 to even the set at one apiece.
-The third set saw both teams not giving more than a three-point lead away midway through.
-Leading 15-13, Sewanee tried to pull away, but the Lynx were able to get the deficit down to one, 23-22.
Sewanee, however, was able to get it to set point, 24-22, but Rhodes responded with an Emily Korba kill to make it 24-23.
-Following that, the Lynx recorded back-to-back service aces to give them the lead, 25-24.
With their backs against the wall, the Tigers were able to even the match at 25. However, after a Rhodes kill, the Purple and Gold were, once again, with their backs against the wall, not only tied the contest back up but retook the lead, 27-26 on a Rhodes attacking error.
-The Lynx responded with the final three points, ending on a service error by Sewanee, to win 29-27, and take a 2-1 lead for the match.
-Sewanee found life in the fourth set, sprinting out to a 6-2 lead in the set before Rhodes burned a timeout.
-The Lynx would rally back in the set, but leading 21-20, Sewanee scored four times of the last five points to win the set, 25-21 and forced a fifth set.
-In the deciding set, Sewanee responded with a fast start, leading 9-3 to start the set.
-Rhodes bounced back once again to even the set at 11 points apiece, but the Purple and Gold were able to earn match point with three straight points.
-The Lynx came back with four straight points to retake the lead and forced match point. The teams would trade points back-to-back for the next nine points to make it a 19-19 affair.
-With Stewart serving, the Tigers were able to win the final two points on back-to-back kills by Mason Gardella and Stewart to secure the win.
NOTES AND NUGGETS
-This is the second straight year Sewanee has gone five sets in a conference championship quarterfinal match. The Tigers went to the deciding set against Millsaps.
-This is Sewanee's first win in the SAA Championship since 2013, as they defeated Centre in straight sets as the seven-seed.
-Friday's win is the 20th win for the program in 2018. This is the first 20-win season this century and the first since 1999.
-This is the seventh match in the conference tournament history to go five sets. However, today's match was a historical one. The 40 combined points are the most in a fifth set in SAA Tournament history.
Interview courtesy of Berry Athletics
SEWANEE KEY STATISTICS
-Destiny Stewart led all attackers with 22 kills on 68 total attacks and six errors. She also collected 24 digs and 24.5 total points.
-Constance Connolly assisted on 50 of the team's 59 kills and dug out 23 Rhodes attacks.
RHODES KEY STATISTICS
-Kelsey Glasper recorded 21 digs and 16 kills, while Camila Zimmerman added 20 digs and 19 kills.
-Mary Frances Daniel finished with 31 digs to lead all players in the match.
The Tigers will next face No. 17 Berry in the semifinals of the SAA Championship Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. CT.