WHEELING - The Wheeling Jesuit Volleyball team captured its third straight trip to the NCAA Elite Eight, and its third straight Atlantic Regional Championship on Saturday, defeating California (Pa.) in straight sets (25-21, 25-18, 25-16). The Cardinals also placed three players on the All-Tournament team.
WJU has played 42 games this season (37-5 overall, 19-0 MEC), and only 12 opponents have managed to take a set from the Cardinals.
"I'm kind of speechless right now," WJU head coach Christy Benner said. "It was a 3-0 game. We're going to Iowa. We stepped up. We did what we needed to do. I'm just super excited for our girls. They did everything we asked them to."
The No. 1-seeded Cardinals looked every bit a champion in the match, defeating the Vulcans with powerful net play and impenetrable defense. Senior Captain Jenna Pew had 12 kills while freshman Emma Schleucher had 16 kills of her own. Freshman Andrea Thobe led the Cardinals with 36 assists.
The first set was a high scoring back and forth battle, which the Cardinals eventually took 25-21. The second set turned out to be a defensive match with the teams tied for most of it until the Cardinals pulled away to win 25-18. The third set showed all out domination by the 1st seeded Cardinals who led right from the start to win the set 25-16.
"This is our third year in a row, and we faced Cal every time in the championship," senior Gabby Guancaile said. "I'm just glad to be sharing this with my coaches and Jenna (Pew)? It's just great that we got to win our last game on our home court and get a win."
The Cardinals advance to the National Championship Tournament in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where they will face Southeast Region Champions Wingate University at 8:30 p.m. Dec. 12
Kayce Krucki - Wheeling Jesuit
Jenna Pew - Wheeling Jesuit
Makenzie Ripley - Wheeling Jesuit
Laurel Miller - California (Pa.)
Molly Delaney - California (Pa.)
Mary Lavery - California (Pa.)
Jill Edwards - Shippensburg University
Emily Carver - Gannon University
Laura Subject - Clarion University
Corrine Gahager - Seton Hill University
Joylene Thompson - Fayetteville State University
Marissa Eminio - Pitt-Johnstown