SALUTE TO CHAMPIONS: Volleyball
Twice a week this summer, Atlantic10.com will feature a sport-by-sport look back at the 2014-15 season and championships. Check back each week for a review of each sport. Today's look back: Volleyball.
Atlantic 10 volleyball fans were treated to a competitive regular season in 2014. The league featured three 20-win teams and six different squads win nine conference matches.
Arielle Love of Duquesne, an eventual All-Conference First Team selection was named AVCA National Player of the Week on Oct. 7 and GW’s Chidima Osuchukwu was twice a finalist for the national award. Osuchukwu would also end up as a A-10 first teamer and earned a tryout with the United State Olympic Team.
Dayton junior Alaina Turner was named the 2014 Atlantic 10 Conference Volleyball Player of the Year while UD coach Tim Horsmon was voted A-10 Coach of the Year. Dayton’s Janna Krafka won Libero of the Year honors and her teammate Jane Emmenecker was the 2014 Setter of the Year. Saint Louis’ Nenye Okoro was named the 2014 Rookie of the Year. Joining Turner, Osuchukwu and Love on the All-Conference first team was GW’s Kelsey Newman, Franki Darnold from Rhode Island and Janelle Sykes of VCU. VCU’s Cecilia was the First Team All-Conference setter. Turner, Osuchukwu, Love and Isolde Hannan also were named AVCA All-American Honorable Mention.
Dayton claimed the regular season with a 13-1 conference mark, just ahead of GW’s 11-3 league mark. Saint Louis, Rhode Island, VCU and Duquesne all tied at 9-5 to earn A-10 Championship berths. Dayton won its fourth Atlantic 10 Volleyball Championship in the last five years, claiming a 3-1 (25-21, 23-25, 25-17, 25-20) win over George Washington in the final at the Frericks Center.
The Flyers continued their winning streak with a 3-1 (25-22, 25-18, 23-25, 29-27) win over American in the NCAA Tournament first round. UD advanced to the second round, falling 3-0 (25-20, 25-18, 25-16) to fourth-ranked Penn State.
After the season came to a close, two A-10 volleyball student-athletes gave the league two of its best stories of the year. One of them was simply fun -- former Duquesne standout Allison Foscia made an appearance on the Price is Right TV show in March. The other story was nothing short of inspiring. During her freshman year at Rhode Island, Caroline Casey helped save a life. She became a bone marrow donor and helped save Jennifer Guthro, who had been diagnosed with Myeloid Leukemia while pregnant.