By Austin Gillespie, Sports Information Intern and Sports Information Staff
Maryville College claimed the 2019 USA South Athletic Conference Championship, as the Scots knocked off host Averett University, 3-1, on Saturday.
Maryville took the final set to extras, as the exciting match saw four Scots record double-doubles in the championship match.
"It was priceless," Head Coach Kandis Schram said. "We had to play a gutsy, hard-fought match, and the girls played in front of a hostile crowd. Averett just played great, and they kept changing it up. We didn't play our best, but we played good enough. Sometimes, that's even better."
Saturday's championship was a back-and-forth affair that ended in a 24-26, 25-23, 25-22, 27-25 victory for MC.
The Scots fought off the early 1-0 deficit, taking the final three. Neither of the sets had a more than three-point margin.
"For the most part this year, we didn't have to do that," Schram said. "It really showed a lot of guts. I wasn't 100 percent sure. You can't practice that. We were able to pull people off the bench and put them in critical positions at times, and it took everything. To me, that's what it means. We're one family, and we all bought into bringing this championship back to Maryville. They've talked all year about the workout and the grueling practices, but the one goal was to bring this championship back to Maryville College. They did that."
With Saturday's championship run, it marks the third time in MC history to claim the volleyball title. It's the Scots' first title since the 2014 season, as Maryville swept league play this season.
The Scots went 14-0 in the regular season, extending that mark to a 17-0 record including tournament play.
"If you had told me that was going to happen, I would have said you were crazy," Schram said. "It's incredibly special for our seven seniors. They had talked about how when they took that floor, that it wasn't just for our small huddle. It was for all those girls the last three or four years that came up short. We just kept getting second. They were like, 'This is so much bigger that us.' They believed that, and it's true. They couldn't have done it in a better way."
MC earns the USA South's NCAA Tournament bid, as they will learn their destination on Monday, Nov. 11. The selection show is slated for 12:30 p.m.
The Scots were led by Sidner and McDaniel on the offensive side of the court, while Sidner and McDaniel held their own defensively, as well.
Sidner led the team with 18 kills while earning a double-double with 11 digs. McDaniel would also end with a double-double in assists and digs.
She finished the match with 23 assists and 14 digs, while adding in a trio of aces. McDaniel has been in the top 10 assists-per-set leaders within the conference all season.
The usual offensive powerhouse that is Bonee would end up with a double-double in assists and digs. Bonee tallied 25 assists and 10 digs, as she was just one kill from a triple-double with nine.
Mathews also rang up a double-double in kills and digs for the match knocking down 12 kills and 10 digs. Mathews would make the point to give the final possession back to Maryville before the final two points came from service aces by Allison Botts.
Botts had three service aces, while Natalie Watts added a team-high 16 digs. Dejane Hester-Taylor had seven kills, three digs and four block assists, while Arin Wyttenbach added six kills and five total blocks.
All four sets were extremely close and hard-fought by both teams. The first set went to the Cougars in a 26-24 set win. The lead changed repeatedly between the two teams during the set. There were 15 ties in the set with eight lead changes.
The second set saw more of the same before the Scots were able to take it 25-23. The second set would call for nine ties and four lead changes for another back and forth set. The third set brought up more of the same as MC takes the third set with a score of 25-22. The set went back and forth once again as it would in the fourth and final set. MC took the final set to remain unbeaten in the conference and crowned Champions in the fourth set of 27-25.