Stevenson Captures Sixth Consecutive MAC Women’s V-Ball Championship
OWINGS MILLS, Md. – In front of a near sell-out crowd of 574 at Owings Mills Gym on Saturday afternoon, the #1 seed Stevenson Mustangs would defeat the #2 seed Arcadia Knights, three sets to one and win their sixth consecutive Middle Athletic Conference Commonwealth Women’s Volleyball Championship (25-23; 21-25; 25-20; 25-20).
Leading the way for the Mustangs were Senior OH Annika Schwartz, who was tied with a match-high 16 kills, followed by Senior OH Lauren Weaver with 15 and Junior RS Moriah Savage, who contributed 10 kills of her own.
For the Knights, they were led by Junior OH/OPP Lizzie Joseph, who also had 16 kills and teammate Sophomore OH Shannon Ryan contributed 12 kills.
In the first set, the Mustangs would bust out to 6-2 lead on a kill by Sophomore OH Katie Leftridge. Arcadia would answer with a 9-5 run to tie the score at 11-11 on a Joseph kill. It was then a see-saw battle that no team could grab momentum and after 46 points were played, the score was tied 23-23 before back to back Knights errors gave Stevenson the first set, 25-23.
Stevenson enjoyed an 8-4 lead in the second set before Arcadia caught fire. A 17-8 run gave the Knights a 21-16 lead, capped off by Sophomore OH Shannon Ryan’s kill. It would take Arcadia three set point before Leftridge’s attack error gave the Knights the second set, 25-21. The match was now a best two sets out of three.
The third set saw six ties and three lead changes as both teams knew winning this set was going to be crucial. A Mustangs kill by Weaver tied the score at 19-19. From there, Stevenson would go on a 5-0 mini-run, with a kill by Sophomore S Julie Nightwine, back to back Knights attack errors on Jospeh, a kill from Weaver and on Arcadia’s Freshman OH Lauren Enfield’s attack error, Stevenson held set point at 24-19. Schwartz would have an attack error on their first set point, but Ryan’s attack error for the Knights gave the Mustangs the set, 25-20, and a two sets to one lead.
A very loud, vocal crowd was in on every single point and the Mustang faithful were starting to grow more vocal knowing that the Mustangs were now just one set from winning their sixth consecutive conference championship, their 20th straight win this year alone, a 32-1 season record and possibly a top four seed in the upcoming NCAA Division III Women’s Volleyball Tournament. But there was a fourth set to be played before the celebration could begin.
Arcadia was not going to just give them the title. The Knights raced out to a 5-1 lead in the fourth. Stevenson would eventually chip away at the lead little by little until they caught up to the Knights and the score was tied at 14-14. A tug of war ensued as the score tied again at 16-16, then 17-17 and finally 19-19 before the Mustangs would close out the set on a 6-1 run and when Savage’s kill went untouched and landed in, Stevenson could start celebrating. They just won the fourth set, 25-20 and won the MAC Commonwealth Championship again for that sixth straight season.
Stevenson now waits until Monday, November 6th at 12:30 pm when the field for the NCAA Division III Women’s Volleyball Tournament field will be announced live on NCAA.com.