NEWARK, Del. – The Philadelphia University women's volleyball team won its first Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) championship in program history, sweeping Caldwell 25-23, 25-14, 25-19 Sunday afternoon in the Wilmington University Athletics Complex.
With the victory, Philadelphia—who is now 29-4 and on a 17-match winning streak—also secures its first appearance in the NCAA Division II Championship Tournament in the program's 20-year history. The Rams find out who their opponent will be when the NCAA announces the tournament field on Monday, Nov. 21 at 7:30 p.m. on www.ncaa.com.
CACC Tournament MVP Courtney Wensel (Bechtelsville, Pa./Berks Catholic) led Philadelphia with a match-best 14 kills, a .303 attack percentage, a match-high 23 digs, and one ace. In the three-match tournament, Wensel averaged 15.0 kills and 17.3 digs.
Mariah Cadzow (Mountville, Pa./Hempfield) contributed nine kills, five digs, and three service aces; while Corinne Justus (Allentown, Pa./Emmaus) had nine kills and two solo blocks. Cadzow and Justus joined Wensel on the CACC All-Tournament team.
Alexandra Harrington (St. Leonard, Md./Huntingtown) added 37 assists and three digs.
Wensel recorded five kills and 12 digs in an opening set that featured 15 ties and eight lead changes. After Caldwell (23-11) took a set-high three-point lead (9-6), Philadelphia bounced back to even the set at 10 on a Wensel kill. Ariana Rosario (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) broke a 23-all tie with one of her four kills. Jusuts secured the set with her fourth kill of the opening set.
Lauren Laucella (Horsham, Pa./Hatboro-Horsham) threw a block party during the early stages of set two, recording two solo blocks and a block assist during a 4-0 run that put Philadelphia ahead 9-5. A run of seven straight points, including three Cazdow aces and two Wensel kills, put the Rams up by double figures for the first time (22-12). Laucella—who had five kills in the match—closed out the set with her third kill.
Philadelphia stormed out to an 11-3 lead to being the third set. Laucella and Wensel each had two kills during the early run. The Cougars chipped away at the Ram lead, eventually getting back within 14-12. With Philadelphia's lead sitting at 21-18, the Rams scored four of the final five points—clinching the championship on a Cadzow solo block.
Katrina Jannsen had nine kills and 12 digs and Taryn Auyong posted eight kills.