SHERMAN, Texas – The University of Dallas volleyball team edged Austin College on the road to claim both meetings during the season, on each team's home floor. It was another thrilling night for the Crusaders (16-18, 9-9 SCAC), who only required four sets on Tuesday unlike the first meeting being a 2-0 comeback. Still, two of the determining sets were decided beyond 25 points and gave the road squad the momentum to capture the most wins in conference play since joining.
The Crusaders now for the second straight season have finished in the SCAC standings within a three-way tie for seeds four through six. Like 2018, Dallas jumps from the sixth seed to the fourth seed by virtue of a better head-to-head mark with the other two. The Crusaders topped Texas Lutheran University a few days ago in the second meeting to spit the regular season and go 3-1 against the other two teams. TLU was swept by the 'Roos (15-19, 9-9 SCAC) in the regular season and dip to the sixth seed.
This sets up another matchup between the teams that met in Sherman on November 8 at the SCAC Tournament hosted at Texas Lutheran.
Set 1: 21-25
Set 2: 27-25
Set 3: 29-27
Set 4: 25-21
After dropping the first set, the Crusaders stayed near the 'Roos in the second set to eventually force a 17-17 score. A 5-1 run positioned the home team at a 23-19 lead in the second set. Kills by Dayjah Whyte (Round Rock, Texas) and Isabel Garcia (San Antonio, Texas) halted the momentum and sparked a UD rally. Abigail Porras (El Paso, Texas) took a solo block that forced Austin College into a timeout. Whyte grabbed another kill to make it a one-point set (23-22). Kynleigh Browne put the 'Roos up 24-22, but Dallas won five-of-six points to finish the come-from-behind win. Porras and Anna Stevenson (Dallas, Texas) earned kills on the final points.
In the third set, the sides traded runs throughout to create a nail-biting finish. After a UD 4-0 run put it up 20-19, the teams traded a point through 24-24. A service ace by Mari Prazak lifted the 'Roos up by one, but an attack error and kill by Whyte gave Dallas a turn at sealing the set-win. Teams traded the next three points to make it 27-all, and then Porras hit a kill and AC had an attack error end to give the Crusaders a 2-1 lead in sets.
After giving up the first point, Dallas never trailed in the fourth set until the 'Roos tallied five straight points to make it 16-13. Down 20-18, Garcia and Kennedy Bradley (Groesbeck, Texas) ignited a 7-1 scoring stretch to claim the triumph. Out of the timeout, Chloe Ilagan (Sugar Land, Texas) stayed on serve the next four ones and started with an ace and Whyte scored the first of her final three points for UD. The Crusaders hit .405 and amassed 17 kills, two hitting errors, and 37 hitting attempts in that last stanza.
Porras matched a career-high 20 kills from earlier this season against LeTourneau University (September 24). The sophomore hitter added a double-double thanks to 21 digs, which was one shy of matching a team-high. Whyte tallied 14 kills and Garcia tossed in 11. Ilagan led the back row with 22 digs. Larissa Ramirez (San Antonio, Texas) notched 44 assists. Stevenson picked up three solo blocks. Dallas finished the game with 10 total blocks, with half of them of the solo variety.
Karson Dykes (15 kills), Caitlin Mahoney (13), and Shelbi Cook (13) paced the offense with double figures in that category. Christine Royalty added nine kills and Browne had eight. Brooklyn Talley assisted 31 balls, while Allison Pierce chipped in 18. Prazak collected 26 digs to lead the 'Roos.
Dallas plays at Dallas Christian College on Wednesday at 6 p.m.