Emory Volleyball NCAA Championships Notes
NCAA D-III Volleyball Championships Website
** This year's appearance in the NCAA Tournament is the Emory volleyball program's 22nd consecutive and 23rd overall appearance in the postseason. Entering the weekend, the Eagles have an all-time mark of 45-22.
** Head Coach Jenny McDowell, now in her 22nd season directing fortunes of the program, has a school and career won-lost mark of 715-159. Her record in the NCAA Tournament is 45-21. McDowell has directed the team to 22 straight NCAA Tourney bids.
** The Eagles advanced to the NCAA Championships after winning the NCAA Atlanta Regional, sweeping Worcester State, #21 Christopher Newport and Berry College. Sophomore Sara Carr was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Regional while classmates Morgan McKnight and Elyse Thompson were all-tourney selections.
** Emory earned an at-large bid to the NCAA D-III Tournament after finishing runner-up in the University Athletic Association Championships. The Eagles opened with a 3-0 decision over Case Western Reserve before battling to a 3-2 outcome over Carnegie Mellon in the semifinals. In the title showdown Washington University emerged with a 3-1 triumph.
** Emory enters this weekend with wins in 11 of its last 12 matches and an overall record of 30-6, the 11th straight year it has posted 30 or more wins.
** Emory starts play this weekend with a team attack percentage of .240, tying for the No. 1 spot among UAA teams and 16th among all D-III programs … In addition, the Eagles are limiting the opposition to just a .137 hitting percentage, good for second place among UAA squads.
** Emory had enjoyed an advantage in hitting percentage in 28 of 36 matches this season (139 of last 156).
** Emory has played 11 matches against teams ranked in the AVCA Top 25, registering a 6-5 record in those contests.
** Emory played a total of 15 regular-season matches against 12 teams that advanced to this year's NCAA Tournament Championship, finishing with a 9-6 ledger in those encounters.
** Emory has swept 23 opponents this year and has been swept once. The Eagles have played in seven five-set matches and show a 4-3 slate in those contests.
** Emory outside hitter Sara Carr (1st Team AVCA All-American) leads the Eagles in kills with a 3.29 per-set average, good for third place among UAA players. Carr has totaled a team-high 21 matches of double-figure kills and has a pair of a career-high tying 22-termination contests to her credit, both coming vs. Carnegie Mellon (Oct. 15 & Nov. 3 in the UAA semifinals). In addition, Carr ranks second on the team and 19th among UAA players in digs (2.46 dps). Carr's .267 (391-102-1082) hitting percentage is eighth among UAA players.
** Sophomore Elyse Thompson (3rd Team AVCA All-American) has been a lynchpin of the Emory defense averaging a team-leading 5.22 digs per set, good for the No. 3 position on the UAA ladder … Thompson, who is tied with Morgan McKnight with 121 sets played (out of 127), has compiled double-figure digs in 31 of her 34 matches and has nine outings of 20 or more digs, including six with 30 or more … She established a school record with 38 digs in a 3-2 victory over Birmingham Southern (Oct. 22) … Entering the D-III Championships, her 632 total digs place her third on the school's all-time seasonal ladder behind Kate Bowman (726 in 2014) and Taylor Erwin (653, 2012) … Thompson's 5.22 digs-per-set mark currently ranks as the Eagles' No. 1 all-time seasonal mark.
** Morgan McKnight (Honorable Mention AVCA All-American) has been a key cog offensively, and will enter the Ithaca match on Thursday second on the team with 19 matches with 10 or more terminations … McKnight has ranked as the squad's leader in kills in 10 matches this year, stands seventh among UAA players in kills average (2.91 kps).
** Freshman Leah Saunders has produced 16 contests of double-figure kills and stands fourth on the team and 14th on the conference ladder in kills average (2.60). She has come through with 10 or more terminations in seven of her last 11 matches and established a season high with 16 kills against Carnegie Mellon during semis of the UAA Championships.
** Sara Carr was chosen to the All-UAA First Team while Morgan McKnight and Elyse Thompson were second-team honorees. Junior setter Mady Arles and freshman Leah Saunders were honorable mention picks, with Saunders also being named the league's Rookie of the Year, the eighth Emory player to earn that distinction.
** Carr, Thompson and McKnight were all chosen to the AVCA All-South Region Team.
** Using a combination of Mady Arles, senior Hannah Billings and sophomore Sarah Porter, Emory leads the UAA and stands third in the D-III ranks in assists per set (13.09 aps).
** Injuries impacted the Eagles throughout the year with the team losing middle Sydney Leimbach in the middle of October while seeing key replacement Maggie Rimmel also slowed by injuries. However, junior Carly Saitman and Savannah Bush have stepped up to fill the void at the position. Saitman is hitting .296 (83-23—203) over 71 sets of play and is averaging 0.75 blocks per set, while Bush is averaging 0.76 blocks and 1.37 kills in her 78 sets. Bush came through with five (2-3) total blocks vs. Christopher Newport in the Atlanta Regional semifinal.
** Junior Karissa Dzurik is rounding back into form after being slowed by injuries as well. Expected to be a key offensive component in the Emory attack, she missed the first 12 matches of the season before returning for one contest, where she re-injured herself and missed the next 11 matches. She returned on Oct. 22 and has been productive, averaging 2.52 kills per set (44 total sets played). At last weekend's Atlanta Regional, she pounded out a team-high 12 kills in the win over Worcester State before tying for match honors with 10 terminations the following night against No. 21 Christopher Newport
The following are series records with Emory and the NCAA Championships field
Ithaca – 0-0
Gustavus Adolphus – 0-0
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps – 6-2 (Emory won, 3-1, earlier this year in Atlanta)
Swarthmore – 0-0
Wittenberg – 6-6 ( Wittenberg won, 3-2, earlier this year in Springfield, Ohio)
Calvin – 1-4
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)
UAA Player of the Week
Elyse Thompson – Sept. 6
Morgan McKnight – Sept. 11
Morgan McKnight – Sept. 19
Sara Carr – Nov. 13
Elyse Thompson – Nov. 13
Sara Carr – 1st Team
Morgan McKnight – 2nd Team
Elyse Thompson – 2nd Team
Mady Arles – Honorable Mention
Leah Saunders – Honorable Mention
UAA Rookie of the Year
Sara Carr – 1st Team
Elyse Thompson – 3rd Team
Morgan McKnight – Honorable Mention
AVCA All-South Region
NCAA D-III Atlanta All-Regional Team
Sara Carr – Most Outstanding Player