William and Mary rounded out the fall break matchups Monday afternoon with a 3-0 sweep of Colonial Athletic Association opponent Delaware for the Tribe’s eighth win of the season, snapping a four-match losing streak.
The Blue Hens (9-10, 1-5 CAA) nearly got the better of the College (8-12, 2-5 CAA) in the first set, which ended 25-23 in the Tribe’s favor. William and Mary began with a 6-0 run following an initial Delaware point. The College never lost the lead, but the Blue Hens nearly eclipsed the lead as they got within one point at 18-17 before a Tribe 4-0 run. The set was clinched with a kill by senior Dessi Koleva.
The second set went to the College 25-16 in one of the best set wins of the weekend. The game started 5-2 starting with a service ace by junior Gabrielle Pe. Delaware fought its way back in, tying the game at eight and again at nine. At 9-9, the Tribe went on a 9-1 run to take a commanding 18-10 lead. The long run consisted of two Koleva kills, two kills by sophomore Syndey Biniak, a pair of kills by sophomore Paige Humphrey, an ace courtesy of freshman Heather Pippus as well as a pair of Blue Hen attack errors. Despite allowing six more points, the Tribe easily took the set, the 25th point coming from a Delaware service error.
Poised for its first sweep since Sept. 6 over Iona, the College persevered through the third and final set to win 25-21. Just like the first set, Delaware scored first before the Tribe took four straight points for an early lead. Both teams exchanged points but the College never lost the lead. At 9-8, the Tribe managed an 11-4 run for an eight-point lead at 20-12. The Blue Hens were determined to force more sets with a strong comeback bid that fell short as Delaware had a service error on Tribe match point to seal the College’s victory.
Leading the Tribe was Koleva with 15 kills while senior Olivia Jebb had a career-high 16 digs. Defensively, the College had six blocks to the Blue Hens’ three.
This win marks an important moment in the Tribe’s season. Last year, the College only had seven wins on the season with three conference wins. Now, William and Mary passed that mark with an eighth win after four consecutive losses. As there are nine games left in the regular season, all against conference opponents, the Tribe has ample opportunity to improve upon 2014’s conference record, as Monday’s victory marked the second conference win for the team. Currently,the Tribe stands in sixth place in the CAA, just enough to earn a spot in the six-team conference playoffs were the season to end today. However, the Tribe will have to defend the fragile post-season positioning on the road, as six of the remaining nine games are away from Kaplan.
The College’s season-long six-game homestead ends Saturday when it hosts Elon at 7 p.m. for its annual “Spike Out Breast Cancer” game.