The No. 7-ranked Emory volleyball program eagerly awaits this Friday and Saturday (Nov. 3-4) when it hosts the 2017 University Athletic Association Championships.
The Eagles of head coach Jenny McDowell, 25-5 overall, enter the Championships as the No. 4 seed with a league mark of 4-3. Emory's opening-round foe will be No. 5 seed Case Western Reserve (17-11, 4-3) with that bout taking place at 2:00 pm on Friday. The winner of that contest advances to the semifinals later that day (4:00 pm) to meet the winner of the Carnegie Mellon (#1 seed) vs. Brandeis (#8 seed) clash. The championship match is slated for a 1:00 pm start on Saturday, with the winner earning the league's automatic bid to the NCAA D-III Tournament. Below is schedule of the UAA Championships.
Friday, Nov. 3
12:00 pm – Match A – Carnegie Mellon vs. Brandeis
12:00 pm – Match D – Washington University vs. NYU
2:00 pm – Match B – Emory vs. Case Western
2:00 pm – Match C – Chicago vs. Rochester
4:00 pm -- Match G – Winner of Match A vs. Winner of Match B
4:00 pm – Match H – Winner of Match C vs. Winner of Match D
6:00 pm -- Match E – Loser of Match A vs. Loser of Match B
6:00 pm – Match F – Loser of Match C vs. Loser of Match D
Saturday, Nov. 4
10:00 am – 7th place match – Loser of Match E vs. Loser of Match F
10:00 am – 5th place match – Winner of Match E vs. Winner of Match F
10:00 am – 3rd place match – Loser of Match G vs. Loser of Match H
1:00 pm – Championship Match
A total of four UAA teams are ranked in this week's AVCA Top 25. In addition to Emory, Carnegie Mellon is No. 9, Washington University is No. 19 and Chicago No. 20.
Emory heads into the UAA Championships with wins in eight of its past nine outings. Most recently, the Eagles rolled to a 4-0 mark at their National Invitational Tournament this past weekend. Emory swept Washington and Lee, No. 24 Berry College and Webster University, while a 3-2 decision over Randolph-Macon upped its home record to 12-0 this season.
At the start of this weekend's action, the Eagles hold down the No. 3 spot among conference squads with a .236 hitting percentage. Emory has hit .300 or better in 13 contests this season, and has enjoyed an edge in that category in 24 matches. Emory claims two players among the UAA's top 10 in kills average with sophomore Sara Carr ranking third with a 3.20 per-set average while classmate Morgan McKnight stands seventh at 2.96 per set. Carr has been on a roll of late with 10 straight matches of double-digit kills to her credit (16 on the season) while McKnight posts a team-leading 17 outings with 10 or more terminations to her credit. The Eagles average 13.75 kills per set, tops in the UAA and fifth among all D-III schools.
Defensively, Emory has been solid, limiting the opposition to a .133 hitting percentage that leads the conference. The Eagles have held 10 foes to a hitting percentage of less than .100, with two of those opponents ending up with a minus percentage. Sophomore libero Elyse Thompson has played a key role in that defensive effort, averaging a team-high 5.21 digs per set, good for the No. 2 spot on the league ladder. Thompson has logged 25 matches of double-figure digs, including eight of 20 or more. Her total of 521 digs ties for eighth on the school's all-time seasonal chart.
Emory captured last year's UAA title, defeating sweeping Carnegie Mellon in the finals, and claims five of the last eight league crowns. The Eagles notched their first championship in 2005 and then brought home their second crown in 2007. In 2009, Emory topped Washington University in the title match, and defended it in 2010 with a 3-1 decision over the No. 1-ranked Bears' squad. In 2012, Emory topped then No. 1-ranked Wash U, 3-1, in the title clash. After finishing runner-up to Chicago in 2013, the Eagles met up with the Maroons in the 2014 finals where they brought the crown back to Atlanta following a 3-1 win.
EAGLES RACKING UP THE HONORS -- The following is a list of various honors that Emory players have received this season
Emory Classic All-Tournament Team (Sept. 8-9)
Morgan McKnight (MVP)
Emory National Classic All-Tournament Team (Oct. 15-16)
Morgan McKnight (MVP)
Emory National Classic All-Tournament Team (Oct. 27-28)
Sara Carr (MVP)
Head Coach Jenny McDowell Previews UAA Volleyball Championships