Tampa advances to the semifinals for the seventh time in school history.
Tampa advances to the semifinals for the seventh time in school history.

UT Sweeps GVSU, Advance To NCAA Semifinals

Box Score

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The No. 2 University of Tampa Spartans volleyball team (30-3) cruised past the No. 12 Grand Valley State University Lakers (26-7) by a 3-0 score in the NCAA DII Quarterfinals on Thursday night on the campus of Bellarmine University. Tampa now plays on Friday night in the semifinals at 5:30 p.m.

The Spartans, who won by scores of 25-11, 25-14, 25-17, advance to the national semifinals for the seventh time in program history and for the first time since their 2006 national championship season.

UT got off to a hot start as it went on a 14-0 run to take a commanding lead at 15-2. During that stretch, Grand Valley State burned both its timeouts as Danielle Selkridge accounted for five points. The Lakers regrouped and took eight of the next 13 points to make it 20-10, but Tampa went on another run and won the opener 25-11 as Melissa Vanderhall recorded the final kill.

Selkridge put home five kills in six swings as the Spartans hit .357, guided by 10 assists from setter Meghan Sherman. Six total blocks by Tampa helped limit the Lakers’ attack to a .000 clip and Vanderhall finished the set with a team-high four digs.

Wanting to avoid a repeat of the south region final against West Florida in which the Spartans went five games after a dominant first set, Tampa kept the momentum going into the second by taking a 3-0 lead after a kill by Sam Macks landed in the back corner. The Lakers battled back though to take their second lead of the match at 5-4. From there, outside hitter Jessica Yingling registered three consecutive kills to give the Spartans a lead they would not relinquish in the set.

With just a two-point advantage at 11-9, UT distanced itself with a 7-0 run and went on to take the frame by 11 points. Tampa, third in the nation in hitting percentage, posted a .318 mark as Selkridge tallied five more kills seven attempts while Kaleigh Cunningham and Yingling chipped in with four kills each.

The final set of the match was the most competitive as the two teams were knotted at 12. Back-to-back kills by Selkridge and Yingling stretched the Tampa lead to two as the Spartans began to pull away. UT closed the match with a 7-2 run to win 25-17 and advance to the semifinal round of the NCAA tournament.

Selkridge finished the match with a match-best 13 kills and Cunningham was the only other player to record double-digit figures with 10. Yingling added nine more kills as Tampa finished with 45 as a team, compared to just 25 by GVSU.

Sherman handed out 39 assists and guided UT to a .350 hitting percentage for the match. She also dropped in two kills on three attempts and picked up five digs in the winning effort.

Defensively, Tampa put up 10 total team blocks while Grand Valley State –the nation’s top blocking team- managed just one as Vanderhall and Yingling combined for six solo stops.

Cunningham also helped with the defensive effort, matching libero Julie Howlett for most digs in the contest with 11, giving Cunningham her fourth double-double of the season.

The Lakers were limited to just a .047 attack percentage for the contest and were led by Rebeccah Rapin with eight kills. Kyrsta Kornack added seven more kills and Leslie Curtis led the team with 10 digs.

Tampa hits the court at 5:30 p.m. Friday night to play the winner of Central Missouri and Wingate at Knights Hall on the campus of Bellarmine University. Livestats will be provided through tampaspartans.com and fans can watch a live stream of the game from ncaa.com/allaccess.

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