VIRGINIA BEACH, VA- The Division I USCAA Volleyball National Championships pitted Florida National University against St. Mary of the Woods. This was St. Mary of the Woods fourth straight appearance in the finals, however, they lost to Florida National in an intense four set match (25-15, 25-17, 21-25, 25-22).
The Florida National University Conquistadors won the school’s first USCAA Volleyball National Championship on Saturday, November 10th. The Conquistadors were the first team to secure the Division I title after the USCAA’s division split over the summer. The victory came at the expense of St. Mary of the Woods College, who dropped a fourth-straight National Championship game after winning their first three tournament games; including a 5-set thriller against Florida National on Thursday.
In the championship game, the Conquistadors started the first set strong with 7-0 lead and three kills from Camilla Kahlich. St. Mary of the Woods tried to come back, however, multiple kills by Ines Bawedin and Afraina Ammerlaan down the stretch sealed the set win.
In the second set, both teams were neck and neck early before kills by Maricielo Redhead Zu and Bawedin put Florida National in the lead. Bawedin continued to accumulate kills and the Conquistadors were able to fend off the Pomeroys to take a 2-0 lead.
At the start of the third set, it seemed as if Florida National was walking away with the championship. The Conquistadors started the set with a 5-0 lead. Then, three straight kills by Alexis Woodburn and Gabriella Slagle put St. Mary of the Woods back on the board. Slagle and McKenzi Kumpf continued to produce kills to give the Pomeroys’ their first set win.
The fourth set started with St. Mary of the Woods leading after kills from Woodburn and multiple Florida National errors. However, after three straight St. Mary of the Woods errors, the tides never turned for the Conquistadors. Despite multiple late set kills from McKenzi Kumpf in a valiant effort to force a fifth set, Florida National held onto their lead and won the championship.
Florida National University was led to victory by the tournament MVP Bawedin, who ended the game with 32 kills and a .441 hitting percentage. Another offensive notable was Camilla Kahlich who added 13 kills to cap off an impressive tournament. Carolina Dantas contributed 50 assists. Kahlich and Dantas were named to the all-tournament team. On the defensive end, Wandy Cruz tallied 33 digs.
St. Mary of the Woods notables included all-tournament team selection McKenzi Kumpf who accrued 18 kills and Katelyn Cotter with 38 assists. Defensively, Pamela Dorman produced 29 digs in a sterling defensive effort.
2018 USCAA Division I Volleyball National Championship All-Tournament Team
Haley West – University of Maine-Fort Kent
Gabriella Slagle – St. Mary of the Woods College
McKenzi Kumpf – St. Mary of the Woods College
Monica Mack – St. Mary of the Woods College
Carolina Dantas – Florida National University
Camilla Kahlich – Florida National University
2018 Tournament MVP
Ines Bawedin – Florida National University