The Belmont Abbey women's volleyball team swept the visiting King Tornado 3-0 before a raucous crowd of over 900 to capture the 2013 Conference Carolinas Championship. Set scores were 26-24, 25-16 and 25-19. Belmont Abbey repeats as champion as it adds to the school record for wins (28) and winning streak (22). The Crusaders will receive the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, with the first round of matches coming on December 5.
Belmont Abbey (28-3) and King (32-5) shared the Conference Carolinas regular season title after both teams finished with identical 17-1 records, after the two teams beat each other on their home floors. The Crusaders were awarded the top seed after a random selection by the conference office, thus the match was played on the Abbey's floor today.
It was the Tornado that started the match on fire, maintaining a lead it would not lose until late Crusaders run, capped off by a King service error, gave the Crusaders their first lead of the match at 18-17. The two teams would battle neck and neck through the end of the set until an Abbey surge, capped off by a Claire Lang kill, moved the Crusaders ahead 23-21 and forcing a King timeout.
After the pause, the Tornado won the next three points to set up set point for King at 24-23, but three straight kills from Schellenberg ended the set to move the Crusaders on top 26-24 and a 1-0 lead in the match.
Set two was all Crusaders, as the Abbey stormed ahead 4-0 and would go on to lead 11-3. The Tornado could only close to within six, and the Abbey scored the final three points to win by nine, 25-16 and take a commanding two sets to none lead.
The final set started similarly to the first, as the teams split the first 14 points before the Crusaders won the next four points to effectively seal the match.
After King broke the string at 11-8, Belmont Abbey claimed the six of the next seven points to move ahead 17-9.
King fought back, winning ten of the next 17 points, fighting off two match points, but it could not avoid a third, as Hannah Schellenberg knocked down her 17th and final kill of the afternoon to give the Abbey the Conference Carolinas championship.
The win is the Abbey's school-record 22nd-straight, as its last loss came at King on September 20 and the 28th victory of the season is also a school record.
Belmont Abbey now advances to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in as many years, the first two NCAA appearances in school history. First round matches begin December 5 with the brackets released Sunday evening, November 24.