- Inside Athletics
CANTON, N.Y. -- Day one of the 2013 USCAA Volleyball National Championships was kind to the women's volleyball team as the Mustangs breezed through their matches Thursday (Oct. 31) in Canton, N.Y. As the No. 1 overall seed entering the tournament, the Mustangs went into the day with their sights set on proving they were worthy of the top billing by the association, and did so by topping a pair of teams to begin pool play.
Note: All best-of-three pool play matches are cannot count toward the team's overall record/statistics.
Marygrove def. Carlow (25-12, 25-20)
Playing in their first best-of-three pool play match, head coach Jamie Baker's Mustangs came out firing on all cylinders against Carlow University. The Mustangs used strong senior play from Katharina Hall (Livonia, Mich./Henry Ford CC), Sarah Suppelsa (Livonia, Mich./Concordia-Ann Arbor), and Amelia Velez (Imlay City, Mich./Prairie View A&M) to cruise past Carlow in two sets, 25-12 and 25-20.
Nicole Kempinski (Livonia, Mich./Schoolcraft College) dished out 20 assists for the Mustangs, while Velez shot down a match-high seven kills in the win. Suppelsa added six kills, including five within an eight-point stretch, to help carry the Mustang offense. Kara Kempinski (Livonia, Mich./Schoolcraft College) had a match-high 16 digs over two sets and the Mustangs recorded 10 blocks while holding Carlow to a .103 hitting percentage.
The win over Carlow marked the second Mustang sweep in as many meetings between the clubs this season.
Marygrove def. Cincinnati Clermont (25-17, 25-23)
The Mustangs limited their errors and shot out to another strong start to put away Cincinnati Clermont in two, 25-17 and 25-23. In the second set, Clermont flirted with upsetting the Mustangs before the top-seeded team from Detroit slammed the door.
Amelia Velez paced the Mustang attack with eight kills, while Kiara Cobbs (Detroit, Mich./King) and Katharina Hall added six each. Kara Kempinski led a balanced defense with nine digs. As a team, the Mustangs owned an impressive .317 hitting percentage with 28 kills to only eight errors.
"We had a great team day today," said coach Jamie Baker of her team's well-rounded performance. "A huge factor for our success today was the team's ability to cut down on their errors."
The Mustangs will return to the floor at SUNY-Canton Friday (Nov. 1) to finish pool play and open up the elimination round. Listen live on the Mustang Sports Network beginning at 11:20 a.m. when the volleyball team takes on Penn State-Fayette.
Follow women's volleyball on twitter: @MGroveVBALL