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Wheeling Captures MEC Championship Over WVSU

INSTITUTE, W. Va. — Ever since the formation of the Mountain East Conference (MEC) back in 2013, the Wheeling University Volleyball team (26-5, 15-1) has been the top dog in the division. For the ninth year in a row, the Cardinals are MEC Champions as they defeated West Virginia State 3-1. They are the second Wheeling University team to capture the MEC title after Women’s Golf won a championship earlier this season.

In set one, Wheeling was the team that would jump out to the early lead, scoring six of the first nine points in the set. However, State would battle back to tie the game just three points later and the back and forth continued until the set was tied at 14-14 halfway through the set. West Virginia State would slowly take the lead with short two and 3- runs to gain an advantage over the Cardinals. The set got to as high as 24-21, and the Cardinals were faced with a match-point situation. Gabrielle Bullock would finish out the set for West Virginia State with a kill and the Yellow Jackets took a 1-0 lead.

As the second set began, State started to once again pull ahead, scoring nine of the first 13 points to take a 9-4 lead in the set. Wheeling was able to battle back and make it a three-point deficit halfway through the set before they hit their stride. Lexi Smith got a kill, and that started a 7-2 run that got Wheeling back in the lead 19-17 towards the end of the set. State tied the game 23-23 and it was looking like a win-by-two scenario was coming. However, Wheeling got kills from Lexi Reinert and Tylah Yoemans got the kills that would end the set and give Wheeling a 25-23 set two win and tie the match at 1-1.

Set three would tie 17 times, including sitting at 24-24. Wheeling needed the two-point advantage to win the set, and senior Kayla Bekier would give them the two points they needed. She registered back-to-back kills, and have Wheeling the 26-24 set three win. With a 2-1 advantage on their side, Wheeling looked to close out the match in set four and did just that. The Cardinals used a combination of kills and errors to build a 7-1 lead early in the set. The lead extended the 14-9 late in the set before State started battling back.

A 5-2 run had brought the score to 17-14 and got the Yellow Jackets to within striking distance. As the set went on, State continued to battle and tied the game at 22-22. Kills by Reinert and Bekier brought the score to 24-23, and the Cardinals would close out the championship with a block assist by Reinert and Winters. The Cardinals captured their ninth straight MEC Championship with the victory, and continue to play well in conference play.

Two of Wheeling’s top hitters, Bekier and Winters, were once again at the forefront of Wheeling’s MEC Championship. Bekier led the way with 18 kills on the day, while Winters followed right behind her with 17 kills.

The Wheeling University Volleyball team has now won a bid to the NCAA Atlantic Regional tournament. They will await their fate, with the tournament set to run from December 2nd through December 4th.

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