Wildcat Volleyball Goes 3-0 at the Davidson Invitational
DAVIDSON — Three matches, three wins.
The Wildcats volleyball team completed a 3-0 run through the Davidson Invitational with 3-0 wins over N.C. Central and UNC Wilmington Saturday.
Davidson, now 5-4, won its first match at the event Friday, defeating Presbyterian by the same margin, but saved its best performance for last.
“I don’t schedule tournaments just to win,” said Davidson coach Chris Willis. “I schedule them to challenge us, and UNC Wilmington challenged us and brought out the best in us. Obviously, I’m thrilled with the way we responded.”
The event’s final match didn’t begin the way the Wildcats wanted, however. Early on, the Seahawks built a seven-point lead, and the Wildcats had to rally. They did.
“It was nice to see our team execute at a high level through the last two-and-a-half sets,” said Willis. “We had an emotional shift halfway through the first set, and our girls decided they wanted to take their competitive level to new heights.”
Willis credited Emily Kane’s effort off the bench for changing the energy on the court.
Trailing 24-19 in the first set, Davidson scored the next seven points to win it 26-24 on an Ellie Crosley block, her second in that stretch. An Emma McLaughlin kill gave the Wildcats the 25-24 edge, as the momentum shifted.
“It gives us confidence that we can come back under difficult circumstances,” said Willis.
The Wildcats used seven straight points to take control 13-4 in the second set and rolled to a 25-11 victory. In the third set, it was more of the same, as Davidson built a 14-3 lead and won 25-18.
Sophomore hitter Hattie Rodriguez had 11 kills in the win over UNCW and was named event MVP. She hit .346 against the Seahawks as the Wildcats hit .347 as a team, and she finished with 35 kills in the weekend. Rodriguez was joined on the all-tournament team by sophomore Alison Jennings and freshman Madeline Wynn.
Against N.C. Central Saturday morning, the Wildcats earned 25-14, 25-23 and 25-22 victories. Rodriguez had 13 kills and hit .522, while Jennings added nine kills and Wynn had seven.
“From last night to this morning, we reduced our hitting errors,” said Willis. “Our hitting numbers were up, and our hitting errors were down. When you do that, you’re going to win a lot of matches.”