Ashburn, VA (November 7, 2016) – Behind an efficient effort by Briar Woods Alumni and Christopher Newport University (CNU) freshman Riley Garrison, the 20th-ranked CNU volleyball team registered its fifth straight sweep as the Captains rolled past St. Mary’s (Md.), 3-0 (25-20, 25-18, 25-12), during a Capital Athletic Conference clash on Friday evening at the O’Brien Arena.
Against the Seahawks, Garriso erupted for eight kills on just 11 swings to go along with four rejections.
With the victory, Christopher Newport improves to 22-7 on the season, including 6-2 in league action. St. Mary’s (Md.) now sits at 21-10 overall and 5-3 in conference play.
After engaging in three consecutive five-set marathons since 2014, the two teams looked evenly matched early in the contest and found themselves deadlocked at seven. Breaking the tie, Garrison and Maddie McCann joined forces on a block before Evelyn Harper unleashed an assault from the back line with a string of well-placed serves to help force two straight SMC miscues. Shortly thereafter, Katie Piper drilled a kill off a defender before smashing an ace to push CNU’s lead to 16-11.
Stretching the advantage, Hannah Miller showed off excellent instincts and a lightning-quick reaction to punch a fast attack by the Seahawks over the net and into empty spaces for a kill. Later, Piper and Garrison dropped the hammer on a pair of overpasses to grab a 23-15 lead. Although the Seahawks clawed back into the set with a late run, McCann ended their comeback with a dart after a CNU timeout to ice the stanza, 25-20.
In the second, the Captains set the tone early with a strong defensive performance. Building a barricade along the net, Miller registered three rejections, Briana Sutton assisted on a pair, and Garrison added a block and blast during a breathtaking surge that gave the visitors a 12-5 lead heading into an SMC timeout. Although the Seahawks momentarily responded, Garrison shot back with two more kills, including a well-placed tip off a feed from Webb, to snatch a 20-12 edge entering another St. Mary’s timeout.
Following the break, Miller kicked off a late run with two kills and a block, while Garrison added her fourth blast of the frame to grab set-point at 24-18. Looking to close things out quickly, Webb followed with a blistering ace off a back-row defender to lock up the 25-18 triumph.
In the third set, the two teams traded surges before CNU whistled for a timeout while holding a modest 10-6 lead. After the stoppage, the Captains went to work and began peppering the Seahawks with a relentless attack. McCann and Miller both torched block attempts, while Sutton rifled a shot that caught three defenders before finding the court. Later, Miller bounced another kill off a back-row player, and Sutton painted the corner to grab a 15-7 advantage.
After the rapid-fire onslaught, Webb kept things rolling by using every inch of the court. The freshman setter pushed a kill past a diving defender into the back corner. On the next rally, she unloaded an ace that caught the end line to extend CNU’s lead to nine. Shortly thereafter, Garrison returned with a block and kill during a five-point run to nail down a 22-9 lead following an SMC timeout.
With little work left to be done, Christopher Newport closed out the set in style. Piper pumped a kill off the dome of a blocker, while Rachel Close went down to her knees for a great save off a St. Mary’s block attempt before McCann landed the penultimate point. One rally later, Miller closed out the contest as she skied along the net to send back one last SMC attack on the way to a 25-12 triumph.
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