The University of Dayton volleyball team concluded its season this past weekend following a 3-2 victory over Pepperdine University in the first round of the NCAA tournament, followed by a 3-0 loss to the University of Oregon in the second round on Saturday, Dec. 1.
The Flyers battled back from being down 2-0 in the first match, losing 15-25, and 20-25. After the first intermission, UD won three in a row, 25-21, 25-21, 15-9.
After the game, head coach Kelly Sheffield expressed happiness with his team’s performance in the game.
“I’m really proud of our team,” Sheffield said. “It didn’t start out the way we were wanting to, Pepperdine had an awful lot of momentum, and we couldn’t set anything up to feel good about ourselves. They didn’t give up; they kept fighting. We made adjustments, got a little more comfortable. We knew it was going to be a heck of a war; it feels good to get the win though.”
UD was led in the game by junior middle blocker Shayne Brown, who according to Sheffield, “had the match of her life,” finishing with a career-high 19 kills, with a .567 attacking percentage. Senior outside hitter Rachael Krabacher led the team with 23 kills, as well as adding 18 digs. Senior setter Samantha Selsky had a team high 58 assists, and freshman libero Janna Krafka led the team in digs with 27.
Brown said that having played Pepperdine twice in the past really helped with her career game.
“We’ve played well the last two times we’ve seen them,” Brown said. “We just needed to go out, do our job and do what the scouting report tells us to do, and things will work out.”
Following the first two lost sets, Sheffield said that during the intermission, he rallied his team for a comeback.
“I said that if anybody thinks that we’re going to lose this match, look at me, and you will get confidence by looking at me,” Sheffield said. “There was not a part of me that thought we would lose that match. We just needed to keep fighting and battling, and find a way to squeak it out.”
Sheffield also said that he reminded them of the Atlantic 10 title game two weeks prior, where the Flyers came back from two sets down to take the championship.
In the second game of the tournament, the Flyers squared off against the No. 5 ranked team in the tournament, the Oregon Ducks. UO started off hot, taking the first set 15-25, and never looked back, finishing off the Flyers in straight sets, 20-25 and 21-25.
The Flyers were virtually dominated from start to finish, finishing with a .173 attacking percentage, to UO’s .350 percentage. The team only had one player in double digits in each of the three big statistics, with Krabacher finishing with 16 kills, Selsky having 27 assists and 11 digs for Krafka.
Meanwhile for the Ducks, All Pac-12 Player of the Year redshirt senior outside hitter Alaina Bergsma led the team with 16 kills, while All Pac-12 setter of the year junior Lauren Plum finished with 41 assists, as well as 12 digs.
For the Flyers, the loss snapped their 19-game winning streak, and the team finished the season with a 27-5 record.