Dukes Defeat Delaware, Advance to CAA Final
With a season-high 18 blocks and a strong offensive performance, James Madison volleyball defeated the sixth-seeded Delaware Blue Hens in four sets (25-16, 25-19, 24-26, 25-15) in the Colonial Athletic Association Semifinals on Saturday evening at the David S. Mack Physical Education Center.
For the fourth consecutive season, the Dukes advanced to the CAA Championship match and improved their record to 20-7 while the Blue Hens' season came to an end (15-14).
Four Dukes recorded double-digit kill performances and were led by senior M'Kaela White who paced JMU's offense with 15 kills and a .517 hitting percentage. Freshmen Danielle Nathan and Sophia Davis added 13 and 10, respectively, while senior Briley Brind'Amour also added 10.
Defensively, JMU dominated on the front row and blocked 18 Delaware attacks. White racked up a season-high nine blocks and redshirt freshman Cameryn Jones recorded six for a career high. Nathan and Davis each added five blocks.
HOW IT HAPPENED
SET 1 | The Dukes grabbed control of the first set at 4-3 and maintained the lead to win, 25-16. JMU blocked six Delaware attacks while accumulating a .464 attacking percentage.
SET 2 | JMU carried its momentum into the second set and garnered a 25-19 victory. The Dukes recorded three service aces in the frame and blocked five more Blue Hen attacks.
SET 3 | Trailing early in the third, the Dukes rallied from an eight-point deficit, but Delaware hung on for a 26-24 win.
SET 4 | Bouncing back from the loss, the Dukes finished strong with a 25-15 victory in the fourth. JMU put together a .478 attacking percentage with 13 kills while blocking four Delaware shots.
- JMU had four players with double-digit kills.
- Graduate student Karis Beasley recorded a match-high three aces, tying her career high.
- The Dukes were helped on the attacking end with a team-high 45 assists from senior setter Sarah Martin.
- White's nine blocks were a match high and improved her career block assist total to 410 – putting her third all-time in program history.
QUOTING COACH STEINBRECHER
"M'Kaela White was incredible – not only her performance, but the energy and leadership she brought was huge. Danielle Nathan had another strong performance against Delaware, taking some big-time swings for us and I thought Sarah Martin ran a great offense."
"I'm really excited for tomorrow's match and their obviously an incredible team – they beat us twice. We're going to have to play great, work really hard in transition and play clean volleyball. Our team is excited for the challenge!"
The Dukes will face the one-seeded Towson Tigers tomorrow in the CAA Championship match at 2 p.m. and will be streamed via FloVolleyball. JMU looks to win its sixth CAA title and the third in the Steinbrecher era.