TOWSON, Md. – In a game that the Towson Tigers women’s volleyball needed to win to keep second place in the Colonial Athletic Association standings, they did just did by defeating the James Madison Dukes Tuesday night at Towson Center Arena, three sets to two (25-23; 25-27; 25-22; 24-26; 15-10).
The Tigers were led by Junior OH Carola Biver, who had a match-high 16 kills. She was followed by Senior RS/OH Julymar Otero with 15 kills and Junior RS Jocelyn Kuilan, who had 12 kills and two service aces. R-Shirt Junior L/DS Anna Holehouse had a match-high 45 diges for Towson in the win.
Sophomore MB M’Kaela White led the Dukes with 13 kills of her own.
A competitive opening set saw 15 ties and four lead changes with each team at one time leading the set by three points (18-15 for the Dukes and 24-21 for the Tigers). James Madison saved the first two set points with a kill by R-Shirt Sophomore OH Kelly Vahos and a service ace by Junior MB Gail Taylor to get the score to 24-23. But on Taylor’s next serve, an attack error by Dukes Freshman OH Liv Crawley gave the Tigers a 25-23 set win and a one set to none lead.
After two ties to start the second set, the second tying the score at 4-4, James Madison went on a 3-0 run to take a 7-4 advantage. Later in the set, trailing 12-11, Towson went on a 4-0 run to take a 15-12 lead. After two Dukes’ points pulled James Madison to 15-14, the Tigers went on their second 4-0 run of the set to take a commanding 19-14 lead.
Towson would hold a set point at 24-20 but a kill by James Madison’s Sophomore OH Briley Brind’Amour, a service ace from Vahos, another Brind’Amour kill and a ball handling error from Towson’s Otero and an attack error by Biver and not only did the Dukes saved all four set points, but now had their first set point of the set and match at 25-24. A Tigers kill by Kuilan tied the score at 25, but James Madison received back to back kills from Sophomore S Sarah Martin and Junior OH Bryn Recker to not only take the set, 27-25, but evened the match at one set a piece.
For a third set in a row, Towson started with a 2-0 lead. An 8-5 run by the Tigers and they had the biggest lead by any team so far, five points, 10-5 and caused the Dukes to call time out. James Madison stayed close to Towson and like set two, Towson held a set point at 24-20. A Dukes kill by White and an attack error on Towson’s Sophomore OH Olivia Finckel started to give the 138 in attendance at Towson Center Arena a sense of deja vu.
But, unlike the second set, on the next point, Kuilan recorded another Tigers kill and the third set went to Towson, 25-22 and a two sets to one lead.
In the fourth, Towson jumped out to a 4-0 lead and even led the set 12-6 at one point. They would go on to hold their first match point, up 24-23, but they were unable to close out the match as a Dukes’ kill by Brind’Amour tied the set at 24-24. Two Biver attack errors and not only did James Madison win the fourth set, 26-24, but now the match was all squared at two sets each, sending the match to the decisive fifth set.
Towson really wanted this win at home and after James Madison’s Martin had a ball-handling error, Towson led 6-1. James Madison went on a 9-4 run to tie the set at 10-10. Then, it was all Towson, with some help from the Dukes.
A Kill by Biver, then back to back kills from Otero and one final Tigers kill by Finckel and Towson held it’s second match point of the match and the first one of the fifth set at 14-10.
An attack error by Brind’Amour ended the match because that error gave Towson the set, at 15-10 and the match three sets to two.
With the victory, Towson (25-4 overall; 11-4 CAA) holds a half-game lead over third-place Northeastern Huskies (10-4 CAA). The Huskies play at home tonight against Hofstra before ending the regular season at the Dukes on Friday, November 10th at 7:00 PM. First place College of Charleston Cougars have already secured their spot in the Women’s CAA Championship Game, with a 13-1 CAA conference record. The CAA tournament begins play on Thursday, November 16th.