The West Virginia volleyball team will move on to the semifinal round of the NIVC Tournament after sweeping Syracuse in the Coliseum on Monday night.
The 3-0 win against Syracuse (22-14) marked the Mountaineers' third sweep of the tournament and the team’s 21st win of the season, the most wins for the program since 1991.
“It’s huge, it’s a big step in the right direction," WVU coach Reed Sunahara said. "I think for the seniors it’s great and for the underclassmen a great learning experience as well.”
WVU (21-12) started off moving slow in the first set. After tying the Orange nine times early on, two Mountaineer errors and a kill by Syracuse put West Virginia down by five, 21-16.
Kills from Payton Caffrey and Briana Lynch brought the Mountaineers within three, and the Orange scored their final point on a Mountaineer error. West Virginia answered with a 7-0 scoring run to take the set 25-22.
During a close fought battle early on in the second set, Mia Swanegan and Caffrey put up kills to give West Virginia a slight advantage, up 10-8.
Syracuse fired back to score five of the next six, but a Caffrey ace, a Lynch kills and two Swanegan kills put the Mountaineers back on top, 17-14.
The Orange kept the score close, but a Caffrey kill brought up set point and another kill by Natania Levak put the set away 25-22, West Virginia just one set away from advancing.
An early 4-0 Syracuse scoring run in the third set gave the Orange a 9-6 lead that they were able to extend to 11-7 on a kill, but West Virginia was ready to respond.
Kills from Levak and Swanegan followed by a service ace by Gianna Gotterba put the Mountaineers up by two, 16-14.
Syracuse fired back, but a kill by Morgan Montgomery kept the WVU lead at two, 19-17.
A Syracuse attack error and back-to-back Caffrey kills extended their lead to five at 22-17, and yet another Caffrey kill brought the team within one of match point.
The Orange recorded two more errors as West Virginia claimed the 25-18 win in set three and win the match.
“We’re excited. It’s great to be able to go to the semifinals,” Caffrey said following the win. “It’s going to give us a chance to play someone we haven’t played, go somewhere we haven’t been, so I think that it’ll be exciting. We’re pumped just to be able to be this far in our postseason.”
West Virginia will travel to Mississippi to face the Rebels of Ole Miss during the semi-final round of the NIVC tournament on Friday. The match is set to tip at 6:30 p.m. EST.