CANTON, NY – The 2012 USCAA Fall Championships have had a familiar theme—Daemen College teams going home with hardware. The Wildcats captured their third championship of the fall sports season with a 3-1 (22-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-19) win over three-time defending champion Florida College in the Women’s Volleyball Championship at SUNY Canton’s Convention, Athletics and Recreation Center on Sunday evening.
All-American Joanna Fretthold led the Wildcats with 11 kills, 12 digs and four aces en route to earning the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award. Teammate and fellow All-American Jenn Karan joined Fretthold on the All-Tournament Team with a 17 kill performance in the championship match. Daemen would finish with three All-Tournament Team honorees, as Ye Wang added 12 kills and a tournament-best five solo block and five block assists.
Daemen didn’t win easily though. Florida took the first set of the match, Daemen’s first such loss of the tournament, 25-22 with strong performances from All-Americans Kerri Taylor and Devyn Jackson. Taylor, who finished with 22 kills and was named to the All-Tournament Team, notched four kills as Florida built a 13-9 lead. The Falcons would extend their lead to 16-10, but Daemen would battle back with a 6-2 run to make it 18-16. Taylor stopped the run with a kill, and Savannah Gorman added two aces as Florida grabbed a 22-16 advantage. Following a Daemen timeout, the Wildcats rallied to make it 23-21, capped by a Fretthold ace. But Jackson, who finished with 16 kills, made it 24-21 with a strong swing before Taylor put the set away at 25-22.
The second set would go back and forth, with eight ties and Florida leading 3-1 and eventually 22-21, but would not lead in between. Two kills from Karan would make it 3-3, and Daemen would go on a 9-5 run, including two kills apiece from Wang and Kaitlin Watchey, to make it 12-8. Florida battled back to tie the score at 19-19, led by Taylor and Jackson who recorded two kills each during the 11-7 run. Taylor would then go on a run, tacking on three kills in the next four points to make it 22-21 Florida. Fretthold had the only other point during the 3-1 Falcons spurt. Karan would then start a Daemen rally with a kill, as the Wildcats took the final four points of the set, tying the sets won at 1-1 after a Wang block polished off the second set.
Daemen answered every Florida run in the third set, maintaining an early lead and forcing a Florida timeout after leading 9-5. Florida trailed 13-11 after a 6-4 run, which included three errors from the overall number one seed to let the Falcons back into it. Daemen got back on track with kill from Watchey, who finished with eight kills, and an ace from Kaley Vazquez. Vazquez, the Wildcats primary setter, added 34 assists to her stat line in the championship match. Leading 18-12, Daemen would lose four of the next five points, including a kill from Taylor and a block by Camille Cline. Jackson added a kill and a Taylor ace brought Florida within 21-19, but Wang answered with a kill for a three-point cushion. Two Jackson kills sandwiched a kill by Daemen’s Lindsey Nowak to make it 24-22, and Taylor got the Falcons within one with her 18th kill of the match. But Karan would not be denied, swinging and ending the third set to give Daemen a 2-1 set advantage.
Florida grabbed an early 4-2 lead in the fourth set, but Fretthold stepped up with two kills, followed by kills from Wang and Nowak to make it 7-5 Daemen. Florida answered with five straight points, including kills from Taylor, Cline and Jackson, to force a Wildcats timeout. Following a Wang kill, a Fretthold ace made it 10-9 in favor of Florida. A 5-1 Falcons run, which capitalized on three Daemen errors, made it 15-10 and forced Daemen’s second timeout of the set. That’s all Daemen would need, as they took 15 of the next 19 points. Fretthold had three kills and an ace during the championship rally, and despite a kill from Taylor that would cut the Florida deficit to three at 22-19, Daemen captured the final three points for a 25-19 win, and the championship.
Daemen snaps Florida’s three-year championship streak, although Florida has still won eight of the last 13 titles in USCAA Women’s Volleyball. The USCAA Women’s Volleyball Championships return to SUNY Canton for the second time on Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2013.
MVP – Joanna Fretthold, Daemen College
Jenn Karan, Daemen College
Ye Wang, Daemen College
Kerri Taylor, Florida College
Devyn Jackson, Florida College
Keri Teschler, Rochester College
Morgan Bills, SUNY Canton