WASHINGTON – Tournament MVP Allison Cappellino recorded 17 kills to lead the American University volleyball team to a 26-24, 25-17, 26-24 victory over Army West Point in the championship match of the 2015 Patriot League Volleyball Tournament.
With the win, American captured its 13th league title in 15 seasons and improved its record to 27-6 overall and 18-0 against Patriot League competition. Meanwhile, Army West Point ended the year with a 21-10 overall record.
Also earning all-tournament honors were Carolyn Bockrath and Vanessa Edwards from Army West Point, Colgate's Madison McAndrews and Lehigh's Stephanie Slater.
Although the Eagles won the match in straight sets, it was certainly no easy victory, as the Black Knights gave AU all it could handle. American was forced to come from behind in all three sets, including the third set, when the Eagles overcame a late five-point deficit.
"It was a very competitive match," said American head coach Barry Goldberg. "Army is a really good team. They're impressive and they were definitely playing their best volleyball at the end.
"Our outside hitters really matched up to the attacking that was going on from Army. It was a good battle. I thought it was a well-played match and a fun match for fans to watch as well."
AU led early in the first set, but Army West Point made a late push, taking a 20-19 lead. The two teams continued to trade points, but American ended the set with back-to-back kills to earn the win.
The action continued to go back and forth in set two, but after trailing 14-13, American went on a 10-2 run to take control.
Despite being down 2-0, the Black Knights were not ready to give up, coming out strong in the third set. Army West Point hit .342 in the set to stake a 21-16 advantage, but American rallied to finish the match. With senior setter Monika Smidova at the service line, the Eagles came back to tie the set at 21-21 and finished strong to pick up the match victory.
"We had a consistent serve at the end," said Goldberg. "As the serve got consistent, the defense was able to make some plays around it. We just patiently kept going, and before you know it, we're tied at 21-all. Then it was a back-and-forth game and we were able to make some plays at the end to win it."
The Eagles, who earn the Patriot League's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, now await the announcement of their first-round NCAA opponent. The NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Selection Show will be held next Sunday, Nov. 29, at 9 p.m. Meanwhile, the tournament begins Dec. 4-5 at selected campus sites.