SAN ANTONIO — No. 1 seed Texas State downed No. 3 Stephen F. Austin (25-20, 25-20, 23-25, 25-17) in four to capture the 2009 Southland Conference Volleyball Tournament Championship at the Convocation Center in San Antonio. The Bobcats earn their sixth tournament title overall, as they improve their record to 22-12 and earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Junior outside hitter Mo Middleton was named the Most Valuable Player. Middleton registered 36 kills in the tournament, including tying her career-high of 18 in the championship match.
Joining Middleton on the all-tournament team were senior outside hitter Jessica Weynand and junior right side hitter Melinda Cave. Weynand recorded 12 kills and 15 digs in the match for her ninth double-double of the season. Cave tallied 28 kills and 23 digs throughout the tournament to help the Bobcats to the title.
“I’m just so excited for our players,” said head coach Karen Chisum. “I was worried we had over extended ourselves against Lamar in the semifinals. Fortunately we still had enough left in the tank to get the job done. My hat is off to Coach Debbie Humphreys and Stephen F. Austin. They played a very good tournament and pushed us in the final match.”
Texas State started the match down two, before Weynand slammed a kill to the right side, followed by a Brittany Collins service ace to start the match. The Bobcats continued to hit well as they went up 10-6 thanks to a kill by Cave that forced SFA to call a timeout and slow things down.
Cave was on fire in the set as she helped Texas State to a 15-11 lead, heading into a media timeout. A solo block by Weynand coming out of the timeout kept the Bobcats rhythm flowing as they maintained a five-point lead at 19-14.
The Ladyjacks came back after two kills by Mary Caitlin Bottles to bring the score to 23-20 in favor of the Bobcats. Texas State took the set 25-21, after an off the shoulder kill by Middleton and an error by Ashley Bailey.
After being down by three in the second Middleton nailed a kill to tie the set at 6-all. Texas State grabbed a two-point lead after kills by Middleton and Amber Calhoun, taking them up on the Ladyjacks 11-9.
Texas State spread the lead to four after three straight errors by SFA in the set. An ace by Ally Buitron gave the Bobcats a six-point advantage at 20-14; as they went on to take the set 25-20.
SFA went on a slight run in the third to go up 14-9 on Texas State and take the lead. Staying one point ahead of the Bobcats, the SFA offense was powered by Bottles and Ashley Bailey as the Ladyjacks survived forcing a fourth set.
AJ Watlington got things started in the fourth as she scored Texas State’s first two kills of the set. Holding on to the lead, Middleton served four-straight points for the Bobcats including an ace to give them a 10-6 edge over SFA.
The Bobcats kept their heads high and bodies moving as they went on to win the set and the match 25-17 with a block assist by Watlington and Jillian Wolpman to end the match.
Texas State recorded 58 kills on .287 hitting, plus 63 digs. Stephen F. Austin hit .250, with 51 kills.
“It is so exciting,” said Weynand. “This is our third title in four years. It’s such a huge accomplishment for us.”
Mary Caitlin Bottles led Stephen F. Austin with 18 kills and five digs. Both Kelsey Owens and Ashley Bailey both registered 10 kills each.
The NCAA Championship Selection Show will be on Sunday, Nov. 29 at 2pm on ESPN News. Stay tuned to www.txtstatebobcats.com for further details.
— FROM TEXAS STATE SPORTS INFORMATION/RICK POULTEREmail | Print