Senior outside hitter Jenny Howard had never seen another team besides Webster hoist the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) tournament championship. On Nov. 8, the Webster University Women’s Volleyball team made sure it stayed that way by winning the 2014 SLIAC tournament for the fourth straight year. The Gorloks will now advance to the NCAA Division-III Tournament.
In the first match of the tournament, top seeded Greenville College lost on its home court to Spalding University. During the regular season, Webster had lost both matches against Greenville, but won both against Spalding.
With that knowledge, Webster took to the court to face off against Westminster College. During the regular season, Webster and Westminster split the season series, with the home team winning three sets to nothing in each game.
Webster won the first set, 25-16, but had a much bigger fight in the second set. Webster was out to a five point lead in the second set, looking to tighten their grip on the match, but Westminster tallied five straight points to tie the game at 23. The Gorloks won two of the next three points, and finished out the game three points later winning the set 27-25.
Webster lost the third set, 18-25, but still led the match two sets to one. In the fourth set, Webster’s defence made the difference. A pair of blocks from Sam Kersting and Emi Beining tied the set at 20 and turned the momentum. Webster closed out the set and match with a 25-23 win.
In the finals, Webster jumped out to an early lead with a first set win against Spalding. After 34 points, neither team had an edge and the set was tied at 17, but Webster won eight of the next 13 points and took the set 25-22.
The second set was a back and forth affair. Webster jumped out to a 10-5 lead, but Spalding stormed back to tie the set at 12. Webster was out to a 21-18 lead later in the set, but Spalding came back again to take a 22-23 lead before Webster finished off the set by winning the final three points, winning the set 25-23.
The third set was rarely in doubt, with Webster winning 25-19. This gave Webster their fourth straight SLIAC tournament championship, and their eight in the last nine years.
Senior Jenny Howard was named the tournament MVP and was one of five Gorloks to be named to one of the three SLIAC all conference teams. Seniors Jordan Vehwald and Allie O’Toole were named to the third team, Howard and junior Rachel Nelson made the second team, while senior Sam Kersting was named to the first team.
Special thanks to Scott Lunte for live tweets and information from Greenville.