Volleyball finishes fourth in SCAC championship

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Freshman Dayjah Whyte spikes the ball against Trinity University. Photo courtesy of UD Athletics.

The No. 4 seed University of Dallas Volleyball team competed against the No. 5 seed Centenary College on Friday night, Nov. 2 kicking off the quarter-final round of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) tournament. The Crusaders were able to defeat the Ladies (17-18, 7-9 SCAC) in five thrilling sets, defeating them with final, extremely competitive scores of 29-27, 20-25, 25-22, 26-28 and 15-10.

The roaring match in Maher Athletic Center was the setting for several highpoints for the Crusaders. Dallas had a season team high of defensive digs (107), blocks (10), offensive kills (65) and assists (61). This was also the tenth match on the season that the Crusaders had double-digits in service aces. Defeating Centenary College, Dallas (20-13, 7-9 SCAC) achieved 20 wins for the first time since the 2014 season. This was Dallas’ third time beating the Ladies in 2018, and Dallas’ third win in the SCAC tournament quarterfinal matches.

“I knew coming into Centenary it would be a tough match,” said Dallas Head Coach Kelli Trautmann.  “We beat them twice in regular season so I knew they would give full effort in playing us the 3rd time. It was a team effort, they worked together as a team and never gave up.”

Dallas moved on to the semifinals on Saturday, but fell to the No. 1 seed Colorado College in 3 sets, with final scores of 25-12, 25-16, and 25-19. Colorado continued to the tournament championship game on Sunday where they defeated No. 3 seed Southwestern University in 5 sets.  Colorado is ranked No. 4 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) rankings.

On Sunday, Dallas battled it out against Trinity University for third place in the SCAC tournament. Trinity (25-6) is ranked No. 9 in the AVCA rankings. The Crusaders fell to Trinity in 3 sets, with final scores of 25-9, 25-17 and 25-14.

“Both [Colorado and Trinity] are nationally ranked [teams],” said Trautmann.  “[Our] focus was just give [our] best effort and play together as a team.”

The Crusaders offense was led by freshman Dayjah Whyte, who had 9 kills. Senior Sarah Hughes from Fair Oaks, Calif. led Dallas’ defense with 14 digs, as freshman Elise Anable from Phoenix, Ariz. added 13. Senior Elizabeth Smith from Broken Arrow, Okla. had 12 assists in the match. Smith, a 4-year starting setter for Dallas, was named to the SCAC All-Tournament Team, which was announced immediately following the championship match later that afternoon. Dallas concluded their 2018 season with a final record of 20-15.

“I was very impressed of how we performed over the season and in the SCAC tournament,” said Trautmann.  “To be predicted tied for 7th place in the preseason polls and finish 4th, it means this volleyball program is going in the right direction. Our focus into next year is continue working hard together, continue being in the gym and focus on being better student-athletes each and every day.”

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