POTSDAM, N.Y. – The 25th-ranked Wesleyan volleyball team defeated St. John Fisher in three sets on Friday afternoon in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship. The Cardinals, seeded No. 3 in the Potsdam region hosted by Clarkson, won by scores of 25-14, 25-16, and 25-20.
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Wesleyan, who was led by Mia Hogan's match-high 11 kills, is now 21-4 overall while improving to 4-0 all-time in the first round of the NCAA Championship. The Cardinals have advanced to the second round for a third consecutive season and will play in the regional semifinals tomorrow against the winner of No. 2 Ithaca (18-10) and No. 7 SUNY Morrisville (23-7), who are scheduled to play today at 3 p.m.
St. John Fisher, the Empire 8 Champions and sixth seed in the region, were led by Alea Steigerwald's team-high nine kills. The Cardinals' season comes to an end with a 23-11 record.
- Wesleyan cruised in the first set as it played exceptionally well on offense, hitting .500 as a team with 17 kills and two errors on 30 attempts. After opening on a 4-0 run, the Cardinals never trailed or tied St. John Fisher as they won by 11.
- Wesleyan came out strong in the second set and jumped out to a 4-0 lead. St. John Fisher responded with a 9-2 run to take the lead, but Wesleyan came right back by scoring seven of the next eight points to go ahead and never look back. The Cardinals closed out the frame with a 12-4 run.
- St. John Fisher scored the first two points of the third and held a 6-5 lead, but Wesleyan went on a 6-1 run to go ahead. The Cardinals led the rest of the way and claimed a 21-12 advantage before St. John Fisher rallied down the stretch to get within four, 24-20. However, the deficit was too large to overcome as Gabby Bennett sealed the victory with a kill.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Hogan led Wesleyan with 11 kills and a .333 hitting percentage while Bella Ahearn totaled 10 and a .444 attack clip. Nicole Hilton added nine kills and three blocks and Bennett registered seven kills and three blocks. Kaira Muraoka-Robertson dished out 34 assists and Phia Bellizzi led the defense with 21 digs.
- Steigerwald led St. John Fisher in kills and digs (9). Lauren Gilbert added eight kills for the Cardinals and Rebecca Hay dished out 23 assists.