The University Plaza Invitational that was played out from Friday, Aug. 30, through Saturday, Sept. 1, had one thing in common with the Flyer Classic, the same victor.
The University of Dayton volleyball team went to Springfield, Mo., to compete in its second tournament of the year and came away with a second consecutive sweep in winning the invitational. The Flyers not only won all three of its matches, but did not drop a set in the tournament.
Dayton, in the new American Volleyball Coaches Association poll released Monday, Sept. 3, achieved the highest rank in program history for the second straight week. After going from unranked to No. 11, Dayton now has its first ever top-ten ranking at No. 10.
Head coach Kelly Sheffield said the number beside his team’s name only matters though at the end of the year.
“We can’t control how voters vote,” he said. “There are teams that lose and move up and win and move down … The only time I really worry about it is the day that I’m voting and when I answer a question about it. Our motivation is get to better, period. That’s it.”
Senior outside hitter Rachel Krabacher was named the tournament’s MVP. Alongside her on the all-tournament team was junior middle blocker Megan Campbell.
Krabacher’s MVP performance over the tournament began with a double-double against Austin Peay State University on Aug. 30, having 18 kills alongside 10 digs. Over the three matches, Krabacher’s .345 attack percentage helped produce 45 kills to go with 25 total digs.
“There was a pretty small blocker on Rachel, and it was just kind of the match up,” Sheffield said. “She was able to pretty much use her size and her ability to put the ball down anytime she wanted to … She was able to tee off.”
As a team against APSU, Dayton had a .408 attack percentage, committing only seven attack errors.
In Friday’s second match against the host Missouri State University, senior setter Samantha Selsky had a double-double of her own with 34 assists to go with 12 digs.
Freshman outside hitter Alaina Turner added a third double-double, the first in her collegiate career, in Saturday’s match against Oral Roberts University with 11 kills and 10 digs.
Krabacher leads all Atlantic 10 Conference players in kills and points averaged per set through the first two weeks. Selsky also leads all players in average assists per set.
Dayton next travels to Bowling Green, Ky., to compete in the Western Kentucky University Tournament. Alongside WKU, Dayton will face the Ohio State University, which is also receiving votes in this week’s AVCA poll, Friday, Sept. 7. Sheffield said it will be a tough day of games to get through.
“We have to play Ohio State and Western Kentucky in the same day in a span of nine hours,” Sheffield said. “Ohio State is just crazy physical and Western (Kentucky) runs an offense like nobody else. That day is just going to be tough.”
Dayton concludes the tournament against Tennessee Tech University at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8.