No. 2 Emory Defeats Southwester, Advances to National Quarterfinals


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SAN ANTONIO, Texas - It wasn't easy but the No. 2-ranked Emory volleyball team kept its season alive Saturday evening with a come-from-behind 3-2 victory against Southwestern University in the NCAA Regional final in San Antonio, Texas.  The Eagles boosted their record to 32-6 following a 25-20, 23-25, 14-25, 25-12, 15-11 decision over the Pirates who closed out their year with a won-lost ledger of 36-5.

After winning the first game, the Eagles had to play from behind in the second and third sets.  In the third game, Emory trailed by a 22-17 margin before rallying to close the gap to 24-23.  However, the Pirates prevailed and in the process knotted to contest.

In game three, the Eagles never really got untracked and saw the Pirates close out the frame with a 7-2 spurt to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

Staring the end of the season in the face, Emory put on a determined and impressive rally over the final two games.  The Eagles never trailed in the fourth and fifth sets, using the combination of timely hitting and tenacious defensive play to secure the win.  Holding a 14-11 edge in game four, junior Vista Murphy's tough serving propelled the Eagles to 10 straight points and a commanding 24-11 lead.  After the Pirates snapped the streak, Emory closed out the game, setting the stage for a decisive fifth set.

Emory kept the pressure on Southwestern in the final game, jumping out to an 8-4 lead with sophomore Amelia McCall providing a lift with her offensive play.  After Southwestern battled back to within 9-8, three kills by senior Dani Huffman staked the Eagles to a 12-9 advantage.  Nursing a 12-11 lead, Emory closed out the contest with three straight points.

Huffman led the squad with a career-high 22 kills while freshman Brannan O'Neill spearheaded the defensive effort with a personal-best 31 digs, tying the second-highest match total in school history.

Emory advances to the NCAA Quarterfinals on Thursday (Nov. 20) in Bloomington, Illinois, where it will play No. 23-ranked College of St. Benedict (29-6).  The winner of that match will play the victor of the Ohio Northern - Williams College contest in the semifinals on Friday.

Article courtesy of Emory athletics.

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