GEORGETOWN - In front of an outstanding crowd in the Robertson Center, the No. 5 ranked and No. 3 seed Southwestern University volleyball team used a pair of dominant sets to defeat the No. 6 seed Whittier Poets in four sets and punch their ticket to the semifinals of the Georgetown Regional.
Southwestern was unbelievable in their attack, hitting .291 as a team including two sets over .300. Southwestern limited the Poets all evening, holding them to .156 hitting and taking advantage of 21 errors in the match.
The atmosphere and adrenaline in the first set completely played into the Pirates favor as they were nearly flawless in a dominant 25-12 victory. The Pirates, as a team, hit .423 in the set and could not be stopped in an facet of the game.
However, Whittier, a first timer in regional play, tempered the emotions and was able to take a set from the Pirates and even the match at one. Part of their success was getting their attack in motion, earning 17 kills to only three errors and hitting .318.
Southwestern responded in a big way in set three, again dominating the set, but this time doing it with their defense. The Pirates held Whittier to -.025 hitting and powered their way with 15 kills to cruise to a 25-15 victory.
Whittier was not ready to go down quietly as the two teams battled it out in the fourth set. Southwestern built a 14-10 lead before Whittier stormed back to cut the gap to two at 15-13. Southwestern maintained the lead, increasing it to 19-16, but put the match away for good in an epic rally that blew the roof off the building.
Numerous digs by the likes of juniors Brandi Campos and Jamison Duck kept the point alive before a huge block by senior Piper Sisemore and sophomore Brittany Hohlt gave Southwestern the point and the lead at 20-16.
From there, it was only a matter of time as Southwestern closed the match out with a 25-21 win in set four.
Senior Kate Mitchell, along with Sisemore, were on another level. Mitchell finished with 17 kills on .500 hitting while Sisemore added 15 kills at .483. Hohlt chipped in with 11 kills while junior Megan Grimes added 49 assists.
Defensively, Mitchell and Sisemore made their mark in blocking with Sisemore finishing with four block assists and Mitchell adding two. Grimes and Hohlt also had a pair. Campos had 23 digs while Duck had 18 and Grimes 12.
Southwestern was also excellent in servicing, finishing with 10 service aces behind three from Campos as well as two from Sisemore and freshman Taylor Beltz.
The Pirates will prepare for, what should be, an epic day of volleyball tomorrow in th regional semifinals. Top-ranked Colorado College opens with Pacific Lutheran at 2:30 followed by the 5 PM matchup between Southwestern and No. 2 seeded and No. 6 ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
The Athenas had a tough contest earlier in the day against a game Texas-Dallas squad, who they eventually finished off in four sets.