JMU defeated the College of Charleston on Saturday in four sets to advance to its third-consecutive CAA Championship. It was a hard-fought rematch of last year’s CAA Championship, and the third time the Dukes faced the Cougars this season.
JMU started with a commanding lead in the first set, but Charleston closed the gap to get within three points and trim the deficit to 18-15. The Dukes finished strong and took the first set 25-19. Redshirt junior outside hitter Kelly Vahos led JMU with four kills while junior outside hitter Briley Brind’amour had three.
Junior setter Sarah Martin and junior middle blocker M’Kaela White had plenty to dance about early in the second set as the Dukes took a quick 7-2 lead. However, similar to the first, the Cougars made it a tight contest as they closed in within two to make the score 16-14. The Cougars battled with JMU to keep the match tied but couldn’t take the lead back as JMU won the second set by a score of 28-26. White was ferocious and had six kills while Martin, the team’s assist leader, had 26 after two sets.
The third set opened with both teams going back and forth for the lead in an early, tight battle and Charleston took an 11-9 lead. Tremendous play was shown from Brind’amour, White and senior outside hitter Bryn Recker, who spiked five kills in the set to advance her total kill count to 10. Despite the efforts, Charleston finished the third set with a 25-22 victory.
JMU held a 2-1 set lead to open up the fourth. The Dukes, with the help of junior defensive specialist/libero Sarah Driscoll and her team-leading 19 digs, began to pull away late with a 20-17 lead. Deadlocked until the end, the game-deciding kill came from Brind’amour and the Dukes defeated the Cougars for the fourth time in a row to advance to the CAA Volleyball Championship for the third straight year.
JMU advances to 22-6 on the season and will play Hofstra on Sunday for the chance to win its third straight CAA Championship. The match is set for 1 p.m.
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