WALTHAM, Mass. – Despite claiming the opening set and playing twice to tie-breakers, the Case Western Reserve University volleyball team fell by a score of 3-1 to New York University in the fifth place match of the 2013 University Athletic Association Championship on Saturday afternoon at Shapiro Gymnasium.
The Spartans conclude the season just under the .500 mark at 16-17. The program had produced five-consecutive winning seasons dating back to 2008.
After dropping the first set, 25-22, NYU (27-7) edged the Spartans by scores of 26-24, 25-22 and 28-26.
Case led pretty much from start to finish in the first then rallied from as many as six points down to lead 24-23 in the second thanks to a kill by sophomore outside hitter Carolyn Bogart (New Berlin, Wis./New Berlin Eisenhower). The Violets answered, however, with the final three points of the second, including a clinching kill by Alexandria Mao.
NYU opened the third with eight points in a row and didn't relinquish the lead despite a late rally from the Spartans. The fourth went back-and-forth, and the Spartans led 17-14 after a kill by sophomore middle hitter Haley Kauffman (Hartville, Ohio/Lake). NYU came back with an 8-2 run, but the Spartans made one last comeback attempt and tied the score at 24, 25 and 26 before the Violets scored the two clinching points on back-to-back kills from Allie Williams.
Statistically, junior middle hitter Natalie Southard (Buffalo, N.Y./City Honors School) led the Spartan attack with 11 kills, while Bogart and freshman outside hitter Isabelle Wagner (Avon Lake, Ohio/Avon Lake) each contributed nine. Freshman Lauren Gurd (Farmington Hills, Mich./Detroit Country Day) and sophomore Robyn Marks (Waterford, Mich./Waterford Mott) paced the offense with 19 and 18 assists, respectively.
Defensively, sophomore libero Katie Best (Sewickley, Pa./North Allegheny) led four Spartans in double-figures with 28 digs. Southard led in blocks with four total.
Three Violets reached double-digits in kills, including Nicole Frias with 15 and Gigi Morally with 13. Emily Moore set the NYU offense with 38 assists, and MaTia Hughes led on defense with 25 digs.