Vikings sweep Generals in NCAAs

Emily Stromberg
Emily Stromberg

ATLANTA -- The Berry College volleyball team has moved into the second round of the NCAA Division III Championships following a victory over Washington & Lee at the Atlanta Regional hosted by Emory University.  The Vikings saw their record move to 26-7 following a 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 27-25) triumph over the Generals who finished off their campaign at 28-7.

"I am really proud of this team's composure today," said Berry Head Coach Mika Robinson. "Washington & Lee did a great job of putting pressure on us with their serve, but we stayed aggressive and patient."

In a highly entertaining affair, Berry hit .271 (47-15—118) compared to W&L's effort of .231 (43-15—121).  The Vikings posted a slim 54-51 edge in digs and a 5-3 advantage in blocks.

Berry sophomore Emily Stromberg led the team and tied for match honors with 12 kills and added 11 digs while junior Anna Keappler was the other Viking to post double figures in that department with 10 terminations while chipping a team-high 12 digs.  Sophomore Katie O'Rourke totaled nine successful attack attempts and hit .421 (9-1---19) on the evening. 

After winning a closely played first set, Berry saw W&L score seven of the second set's first eight points.  A kill by Stromberg drew Berry to within a 10-6 deficit, but Washington and Lee used a 5-2 run to balloon its lead to 15-8.  Two kills by O'Rourke highlighted a 5-1 Viking spurt that cut the deficit to three points, 16-13 and, after W&L scored the next point, Berry rattled four unanswered points to knot the set at 17-17. The Generals went up by a 22-21 count following a Berry attack error, but a kill by Sarah Steffan, an ace by Stephanie Steele and a kill by Keappler gave Berry a 24-22 lead.  After a W&L kill, Berry captured the game on a miscue by the Generals. 

The third set was a nip-and-tuck battle with the largest lead by either team being three points.  A kill by Gretchen Kaufman put Berry one point away from clinching the match but Allision Rouse kept the Generals alive with her team-high 12th termination of the match. After the teams traded points, kills by Kaufman and O'Rourke sealed the win for Berry.

 The Vikings will meet host Emory on Saturday starting at 4:00 pm.