RALEIGH, N.C. -- The East top-seed Meredith College Avenging Angels captured the program's second USA South Volleyball Tournament Championship Saturday afternoon with a 3-0 (26-24, 25-17, 25-20) victory over West fourth-seed Piedmont. Junior middle Cathy Delano garnered the tournament's Most Valuable Player honor hitting .389 during the postseason action with 28 kills, eight blocks, six service aces, and six digs.
Piedmont gave the Angels trouble early on, leading the first set by as many as five points. Meredith turned a corner midway through the set with a 5-1 run, but the Lions responded to push their advantage back to five at 18-3. Avery Bowman dished out back-to-back assists to Ally Copenhaver, and a couple of Piedmont misfires kept MCVB close. Corey and Delano stuffed Alina Roberts and Delano added a service ace on the next ball to pull to within two. The momentum began a clear shift towards the Angels, as Meredith chipped away at the Lion lead.
Elisabeth Smith picked up a solo block to even the score at 24, and Copenhaver landed a kill after a Piedmont timeout for match-point. The Lions left the ball in the net on the next play, and the Angels exhaled with a one-set advantage.
The teams battled for an advantage in the second frame, and MCVB finally stepped up with a 7-1 run to pull ahead 17-11. Corey, Copenhaver, and Smith landed winners from the corners, and a right side block extended the Angels' advantage to seven. Delano dropped two more from the middle, as the Avenging Angels pushed ahead for a 2-0 lead.
Another slow start for Meredith in the third, left the Lions with a 7-2 lead. But a mishandled ball followed by an ace from Bowman interrupted the flow. MCVB evened the score at nines and again at 10s. A kill from Corey followed by another Bowman service winner tied the set at 16, and back-to-back winners from Corey and Reeg finally edged the Angels in front 18-17. The Avenging Angels frontline assumed control of the set with five unanswered points, and Lauren Phillips punctuated the rally with a service ace to give Meredith match-point. Piedmont stripped MCVB of the serv, good for two more points, but Delano finished out the win with a blast in the middle.
Corey led the day with a dozen kills, adding 13 points, and Delano tallied 12 kills with three blocks. Bowman dished out 32 assists with 13 digs, and Copenhaver recorded double-digit kills with three digs. Haley Reeg notched four kills, and Phillips led all with 18 digs. Samantha Smith posted 14 digs, and E. Smith added four kills with a trio of blocks in the win.
Jenna Wendel notched 18 assists for the Lions, and Lainey Choiniere grabbed 17 digs.
The Angels now await NCAA selection Monday for their next court assignment in the Division III Tournament playoffs slated to begin November 9.