NEWPORT NEWS, Va.—No. 5 Dayton used a strong offensive attack, with three players registering double-digit kills, to beat No. 4 Saint Louis, 3-1 (25-15, 20-25, 25-15, 27-25) in the opening match of the 2013 Atlantic 10 Volleyball Championship. The Flyers (15-12) advance to face top-seeded Duquesne in Saturday’s semifinals at 5:00 pm.
Aliana Turner tallied 16 kills while Jill Loiars had 15 kills and hit .375 for the Flyers. Megan Campbell also had 12 kills and hit .370. Campbell had a match-high six blocks, Turner had five and the two combined for a critical block late in the decisive fourth set and then had a pair of kills that secured the Dayton win.
Dayton got five kills in the first set out of Loiars, two of which came earlier in the match and gave the Flyers a slight edge out of the gate. Saint Louis kept it close, but following a service ace from SLU’s Meredith Boe that made it a one-point set at 10-9, UD rattled off six straight points before a Megan Gilbert kill stopped the Flyer run at 16-10. The teams traded points the rest of the way, giving Dayton the 25-15 win.
The Billikens came right back in the second set, jumping out to a 6-2 lead on an ace by A-10 Rookie of the Year Danielle Rygelski and made that lead 15-6 on kills from Jessica Jendryk and Megan Gilbert. The Flyers tried to rally late, outscoring SLU 10-4 , including keeping the Billikens, who had reached 24 points, from securing the set for four straight points to pull within 24-20. Rygelski finished off the 25-20 win for the Billikens with a kill, one of her set-high six kills (.364).
Dayton controlled set three from the outset, with a 6-1 lead, spurred by a set-opening kill from Turner. Turner had eight kills in the match and the five Flyers who attacked all hit over .300 to lead the team to a .441 hitting percentage and a 25-15 win.
The decisive set was tight—Saint Louis took the first five points and seven of the first eight with a pair of kills from Gilbert during the run. The Billiken lead got as high as eight on a couple of occasions, including at 16-8 on a Gilbert kill, but UD chipped away at the lead, tying it at 20 on an ace by Jenna Jendryk. Dayton had match points at 24-23, but a Gilbert kill tied it. Gilbert had a chance two points later to win it for SLU, but blocks by Turner and Campbell turned back her Gilbert’s attack. Kills from Turner, then Campbell secured the victory for the Flyers just two points later at 27-25.
Rygelski led all players with 17 kills and had 10 digs for a double-double. Gilbert finished with 15 kills and Taylor Paulson had four blocks for the Bills. Saint Louis had four players with double-digit digs, led by Ashley Gagen. Janna Krafka had a match-high 25 digs for the Flyers.
Saint Louis finishes the season at 13-17 overall. The Billikens were 9-5 in Conference play this season.