In their first postseason appearance since 1991, the WVU volleyball team easily swept Maryland Eastern Shore, 3-0, in the first round of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship.
The Mountaineers (19-12) won the match by winning all three sets with scores of 25-18, 25-18 and 25-14.
Payton Caffrey led the team on all sides of the ball with 17 kills on 31 attacks on offense as well as 17 digs on defense.
Natania Levak had a stellar game as well with 12 kills on 27 attacks.
Lucia Babic led the Hawks (27-9) with 9 kills on 22 attacks.
West Virginia got a little sluggish in the beginning of the first set as they allowed UMES to hang around and even take the lead, 9-8, early. But a Caffrey service ace and a Levak kill gave the Mountaineers the lead and they never looked back.
“It’s the first time in 26 years since we’ve been in a postseason tournament,” WVU head coach Reed Sunahara said. “I don’t think our players are familiar with this type of match, so they had some jitters tonight. We missed six serves, but we rebounded, and I thought they came out strong after that.”
The second and third sets were very one sided affairs for West Virginia as UMES struggled to stay within five points for most of what was left of the match.
The Mountaineers have a short turnaround before having to play again as they host Temple in the second round of the NIVC on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
"It's always tough to play back-to-back," Sunahara said. "Temple has the advantage, I think, because in their conference they go Friday/Saturday or Saturday/Sunday. But hey, no rest for the weary, right? We got to turn around quick."