Emory Ends Webster Season In NCAA Regional

Emory Ends Webster Season In NCAA Regional

The Webster University volleyball team's 2014 season ended with a 3-0 loss to the #6 ranked and #1 seeded Emory University, in the first round of the NCAA III Regional.  The Gorloks fell 25-19, 25-16, and 25-22, at host Washington University on November 14, to finish at 22-13 on the year.

The Eagles height advantage turned out to be too tough for the Gorloks to handle as Emory had a 44-31 edge in kills on the afternoon, attacking at a .221 clip compared to Webster's .100.  Emory's front line's height typically averaged 6'1 over the course of the match, while Webster countered with just two players six foot or taller.

In the first set, the teams traded points and were tied at 9-9 early on.  Emory took a 12-9 lead, and were up 22-16 when Webster called timeout.  The Gorloks came out of the break with back to back kills by Sam Kersting (SR, St. Louis, MO/Lindbergh HS) and Rachel Nelson (JR, Papillion, NE/Papillion-LaVista South HS) to close to 22-18.  But the Gorloks could get no closer as the Eagles won 25-19.

The second set started in the same fashion, with the lead see-sawing back and forth.  With Emory leading 13-12, the Eagles went on a 7-1 run to pull out in front, 20-13, and coasted to a 25-16 final.

In the third set, the teams slugged it out again early and were tied, 15-15.  A Emi Beining (FR, Festus, MO/Lutheran South HS)/Nelson block put Webster up 17-15.  A Nelson block padded the lead to 18-15, and a Nelson block and kill made it 19-15 Gorloks.   Emory  closed the set on a 10-3 run to take the set and match, 25-22.

Kersting had six kills and a .333 attack percent, with two block solos and a block assist for the match.  Andrea Dwiggins (SR, St. Charles, MO/St. Charles HS) had eight kills and a .353 attack percent.  Nelson had five kills, and two solo blocks and three block assists for the Gorloks.

Allie O'Toole (SR, St. Louis, MO/Lutheran South HS) led Webster with 15 assists and added seven digs.  Jordan Vehlewald (SR, Wildwood, MO/Lafayette HS) led Webster with 14 digs and sophomore Katie O'Toole (St. Louis, MO/Lutheran South HS) had 11 assists and 10 digs.
 
The Gorlok fan base was well-represented by the Webster community and fellow student athletes, who kept up loud cheers for the hometown team throughout the match.
 
Coach Merry Graf will be losing a special group of players including four who played all four years as Webster won four straight SLIAC Championships, and a three-year player who was a record breaker  for the Gorloks.  Those teams went 60-8 in the SLIAC, and 68-8 overall counting tournament wins.  Among those players were:
 
Jenny Howard (Florissant, MO/Duchesne HS), who was Academic All-Region in 2014 and is an All-American candidate. She was SLIAC Newcomer of the Year in 2011, SLIAC Player of the Year in 2012, a two-time SLIAC Tournament MVP, and SLIAC All-Conference all four years.  On Webster's career list she is fifth in attack percent, eighth in kills and 10th in digs.  For a single season she is second in receiving percent, and seventh in attack percent.
 
Kersting was an AVCA All-American and AVCA All-Region in 2012. She was SLIAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2012 and 2013, and SLIAC First Team All-Conference all three years as a Gorlok, and was a SLIAC Tournament MVP.  On Webster's career list she is second in attack percent, third in block assists, third in total blocks, fourth in block solos, and seventh in kills.  In a single season, Kersting is third in attack percent, ninth in block assists, ninth in total blocks, and first in set played.
 
Kristen McDowell (Staunton, IL/Staunton HS) wound up ninth in block assists on Webster's all-time career list, and sixth in matches played.  For a single season, she is third in sets played.
 
Allie O'Toole was SLIAC All-Conference all four years at Webster.  On Webster's career list she is first in matches played, second in sets played, and third in assists.  For a single season, she is third in assist percent and sets played, and is ninth in serve percent.
 
Vehlewald  was also SLIAC All-Conference all four years at Webster.  She winds up her career first in digs at Webster, second in matches played, and fifth in sets played.  For a single season she is first in digs, fifth in sets played, and 10th in receiving percent.
 
Other seniors playing their final matches for Webster were Dwiggins, Ashley Fawcett (Surprise, AZ/Valley Vista HS), Kallie Federhofer (St. Louis, MO/Lutheran South HS), and Megan Morisson (St. Louis, MO/Lutheran South HS).
 
Emory improves to 35-3 and will take on Thomas More College in the regional semi-finals.  Thomas More defeated Millikin University, 3-2, to advance.