By Mike DeVader, Reinhardt Director of Athletic Communications & Media
WALESKA, Ga. – After overcoming a 24-21 hole in the second set with the match on the verge of being tied, 1-1, No. 24 Reinhardt volleyball netted five-straight points to take game two and carried that momentum to a 3-0 sweep over Florida Memorial (25-20,26-24,24-19) in the 2019 NAIA Women's Volleyball National Championship Opening Round at home.
With the triumph, the Eagles improve to 33-2 – with 27 victories in-a-row – and again punched their ticket to the National Championship Final Site on Dec. 3-7 inside the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.
"I'm so proud of this team… This is a very special group we have this season," head coach Brian Goodhind said. "These girls have been all-in this season and it shows every time we are on the floor. Today, Florida Memorial was going to present a tough challenge and they did. They are very well coached and if I was that school, I would make sure to not lose her. What an amazing job that staff has done, and I just want to congratulate them on an amazing season. They are a team that takes high-risk swings and we haven't played against that style. Most teams out of system will give you a controlled down ball to free ball. FMU will attack you in those situations and I was very happy with how our girls stayed composed and executed through the match.
The huge key for us was answering FMU when they had us down, 21-24, in set two. Our girls responded very well, very composed and completed the comeback. I thought that took a lot out of FMU. They are a great comeback team, so I was happy we closed it out in three. Today, we went 1-0, All the Glory goes to God. #WePlayFor11."
Both teams played a smooth match worthy of postseason play, as each squad hit relatively well the entire day and went toe-to-toe with each other. The hometown crowd helped push the Eagles to victory in stanza one after the tilt was tied at 17. From there, Reinhardt got three scores and a couple aces to get out-front by a couple points before ending the set on 4-1 run.
The back-and-forth battle would continue all the way through set two as the Lions and Eagles exchanged blows en route to the aforementioned setting in which Florida Memorial had Reinhardt on the ropes in the stanza. It wasn't to be, however, as the hometown Eagles took momentum and ran with it to a 2-0 lead.
Reinhardt would slowly, but surely pull away from the Lions and find itself ahead by six, 16-10, midway through the third set. Florida Memorial would regroup and get within two scores, but would eventually run out of gas.
An 18-15 lead for the Eagles would stretch to 23-15 as they could sense a trip to Iowa coming up soon.
Carlee Baxter led the way in assists with 15 and seven digs, while Erinn Marroquin grabbed 13 defensive receptions and earned nine dimes. Mar Vives added nine assists, seven digs and two aces as well.
Allison Selway netted three aces also in the victory.
Reinhardt will find out who it will play in Iowa tomorrow in pool play at the Final Site, which will be announced by the NAIA.
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