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Top Seeded Jefferson Takes Down Wilmington in CACC Volleyball Semifinals, 3-1

Copyright 2023; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo by Dan Lauletta.
Copyright 2023; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo by Dan Lauletta.

LAKEWOOD, N.J. - - The two-time defending Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament Champion Jefferson Rams took down the Wilmington University volleyball team, 3-1, in the CACC Tournament Semifinals on Saturday afternoon on the campus of Georgian Court.

Set scores for the Wildcats were 20-25, 10-25, 25-21, and 17-25.

Despite outdigging and outblocking the Rams, the Wildcats were outhit by Jefferson, 55 kills to 33 kills. The Wildcats had 12 total blocks and 85 digs, but the Rams hit 0.151 to win in four sets, defeating the Wildcats for the third time this season.

The Rams raced out to a 7-2 lead in the first set and the closest the Wildcats would get in the set is four points, as Alex Serna closed the gap with a kill, 12-8, and Shannen Litten put down a kill to get to within 17-13. Katie Bushong brought them to within four once again with an ace, 22-18, but then the Rams closed out the set.

Jefferson again raced out to a 7-2 lead in the second set, and then scored four straight to lead 13-4. The Rams took their first double-digit lead of the set, 19-9, and then scored the final five points of the set, 25-10, to lead the match, 2-0.

The third set went back and forth through the first 18 points, being tied 9-9. Trailing 15-14, the Wildcats went on a 4-0 run to take an 18-15 lead. The Rams got to within a point as late as 20-19, but then Shannen Litten put down a kill and Alex Serna and Katie Bushong add a block to put the Wildcats up 22-19. Karalyn Osborne gave the Wildcats set point with a kill, 24-20, and then another block by Serna and Osborne kept the Wildcats alive, 25-21.

Cailyn Smiley tied the fourth set, 2-2, but then the Rams rattled off the next five points to again take a 7-2 lead in a set. Cailyn Smiley brought the Wildcats to within four with a block, 11-7, and then another Smiley kill and a Serna and Osborne block had the Wildcats to within 14-11. But the Rams scored the next three points to open the lead once again, forcing Wilmington into a timeout. The Jefferson lead ballooned to 20-11 before the Wildcats worked to close the gap to within 22-15. The Rams earned match point on a block and the Wildcats tied to come back with kills from Litten and Smiley, but the Rams had the final kill, winning the match, 25-17.

Cailyn Smiley led the Wildcats with 12 kills and 13 digs, adding three blocks. Shannen Litten finished with eight kills and four blocks while Alex Serna put down seven kills and added five blocks. Elly Collins finished with 29 digs while Brice Hansen and Claudia Melendez added 12 each. Katie Bushong dished out 28 assists and added 10 digs.