Flyers volleyball closes regular season with two wins over Saint Louis, will host A-10 championship

Senior Bridger Doherty (center, arms raised) was recognized during the Flyers weekend series against Saint Louis, and will have the chance to go out as a champion of the Atlantic 10 when UD hosts the championship April 2-3. Photo courtesy of UD Athletics.

Kassidy Meiszberg

Sports Staff Writer

Dayton women’s volleyball team closed their regular season with two wins over Saint Louis March 26-27, earning home court advantage for the Atlantic 10 championship.

In the first game, the Flyers started off with consistent blocks keeping Saint Louis on their toes by the net. Graduate student and outside/right side hitter Mahalia Swink made the score 13-9 with a great hit across the court, proving her status as 7th in the conference for hitting percentage.

Swink took advantage of one of her last times playing at Dayton, and had great hitting and small ball skills all the way around. The first set was pretty evenly matched block-wise, but Dayton managed to take the win 25-20. 

Starting off slow in the second set because of Saint Louis’ serving, Dayton had a run for their money getting back into it. However, defense proved to be essential in taking the lead again in the second half.

Senior setter Bridget Doherty really showed her role on the team with her strong pushes to the outside and easily finding the ball. With a fake jump and long tip to the back corner, she made the score 11-8. Donerty knows how to utilize her back row for hits, and overall was smart with tip placement.

Doherty was a big reason the team was able to win another set 25-14. Coach Tim Horsmon said, “Doherty’s leadership has been really important for us. We call the setter our quarterback for volleyball.” 

Hitting percentage as a team was extremely high, and it showed in the final set. With the Flyers block slowing Saint Louis’ hits down, the back row controlled the passes enough for Dayton to set up different plays.

Swink furthered the score gap when she attacked off the block, making it 7-1. The Billikens got too in their head in the end, missing too many hits and serves. A combination of kills and aces gave Dayton the third set with a final score of 25-11. 

On Friday, the Flyers won the first set 25-11, but lost the next two sets 31-29 and 25-19. The Flyers showed resiliency to come back, winning the next two games comfortably, 25-14 and 15-9.

This might seem like just more wins for the team, but this wraps up their regular season and makes them champions of their entire conference. The impressive season (11-1 overall, 8-1 in A-10 play) means they will be hosting the 2021 Atlantic 10 Volleyball Championship.

Coach Horsmon explained what helped them become the highest seed when he said, “They worked really hard to stay healthy, and made a lot of sacrifices. It was their hardworking commitment.” 

The tournament is scheduled to take place April 2-3 on the UD campus at the Frericks Center, thanks to the talent of the Flyers. Their opening game will be against No. 4 Fordham in the semifinals Friday at 4 p.m.

If they win, the Flyers will face the winner of VCU-Rhode Island in the championship final on Saturday at noon.

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