Volleyball Team Wins Fourth-Straight SLIAC Championship, Five Named All-Conference

| November 10, 2014
Gorlok volleyballers won their fourth straight SLIAC Championship.

Gorlok volleyballers took home their fourth straight SLIAC Championship on Nov. 8.

Four-Peats Sake: Gorlok Volleyball 2014 SLIAC Champions

The Webster University volleyball team won its fourth consecutive tournament title with a 3-0 win over Spalding University, Kentucky on Nov. 8. The Gorloks tied their own conference record for most consecutive titles, winning four straight from 2006-2009 also. This is the third straight year Webster took the title on the road, coming in as the #2 seed. With the victory, the Gorloks advance to the NCAA III Championships on Nov. 13.

Though they won the championship match in straight sets, none came easy for the Gorloks. Webster defeated Spalding, 25-22, 25-23, and 25-19. In the first set, Webster was down 20-18, when a service error on Spalding made it 20-19, and Webster went up 24-20 before winning, 25-22. Similarly, the teams see-sawed back and forth in the second set before Webster had a little more breathing room in the clincher.

Spalding (18-16), the #4 seed, reached the championship by upsetting host Greenville College, 3-2. Spalding beat Greenville, the #1 seed, winning the tie-breaker set, 15-9, to advance. Webster was 2-0 during the regular season against Spalding, winning 3-1 in Fulton, Missouri, and 3-2 at Spalding. The Golden Eagles came into the championship match on an eight-match win streak.

Jenny Howard, named the MVP for the Tournament, had 13 kills and a .387 attack percent against Spalding. She added 15 digs as well. Sam Kersting, a SLIAC First Team All-Conference pick (see related story) had nine kills and two solo blocks and two block assists vs. the Golden Eagles. Jordan Vehlewald had 19 digs for Webster, and Allie O’Toole had a team-high 17 assists.

Webster won its semi-final match over Westminster College, 3-1, to reach the championship match. The Gorloks, who had split with Westminster (17-14) during the regular season, beat the Blue Jays 25-16, 27-25, 18-25, and 25-23. Westminster had a 19-16 lead in the fourth set and it looked like the Gorloks may need a tie-breaker to win the match, but Webster went on a 6-1 run to take a 22-20 lead and went on to a 25-23 win to clinch.

Howard had 18 kills and 13 digs against the Blue Jays. Kersting had 11 kills and seven blocks, two solo and five assists, in the match. Rachel Nelson and Kristen McDowell each had 10 kills. Nelson also had three solo blocks and two block assists. Allie O’Toole had 26 assists and Vehlewald had 24 digs to lead Webster in those categories.

Kersting and Andrea Dwiggins joined Howard on the 2014 SLIAC All-Tournament Team. Webster, 15-3 in the SLIAC in the regular season, was appearing in a conference all-time high 20th SLIAC Tournament. The Gorloks are 32-9 all-time in the SLIAC Tournament with 12 titles under their belt, including the last four, and eight of the last nine.

Webster is 22-12 overall on the season now, and awaits its destination in the NCAA Tournament, and who its opponent will be in the first round. The 2014 NCAA III Championship bracket will be announced on Monday, Nov. 10.

Webster Volleyball Has Five Named 2014 SLIAC All-Conference

The Webster University volleyball team, led by Sam Kersting‘s third consecutive year as a First-Team pick, landed five players on the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) 2014 All-Conference Team. Kersting became the first Gorlok volleyball player since Melissa Zwilling (1999-2002) to be named First-Team three consecutive years.

Kersting was second in total blocks (123), and second in solo blocks (51) and block assists (72) in the SLIAC in 2014. She was also seventh in attack percentage (.297), and eighth in kills (294). She is third on Webster’s career list in block assists (254) and total blocks (416), fifth in solo blocks (162), and seventh in kills (933).

Jenny Howard and Rachel Nelson earned Second Team All-Conference honors. Howard, who was selected to the Capital One Academic All-District First Team this past week, was named to the team for a fourth year, being a First-Team choice in 2011 and 2012, and Honorable Mention in 2013. Howard had 211 kills, a .298 attack percent, and 220 digs, playing in just 77 sets. Nelson was first in total blocks (127), block assists (83), and blocks per sent (1.10) in the SLIAC.  She had 281 kills and was fourth in the SLIAC with a .347 attack percent.

Allie O’Toole and Jordan Vehlewald were named to the SLIAC All-Conference Third Team. Both players were recognized for their fourth straight year. O’Toole, also named to the 2014 SLIAC Volleyball All-Sportsmanship Team, was Second Team in 2012, and Honorable Mention in 2011 and 2013. Vehlewald was Second Team in 2011 and 2013, and Honorable Mention in 2012. O’Toole was fifth in the SLIAC with 650 assists, had 117 digs, and 18 service aces. She is third on Webster’s all-time high list in assists, with 2424 in her career. Vehlewald was second in the SLIAC with 570 digs, and second in digs per set (5.04). Including the SLIAC Tournament matches, she now has 1676 digs in her career and is Webster’s all-time leader in that category, passing Crystal Shelton (1649 digs). Vehlewald is also now first in career matches played at 128, passing career leader Shelton (127).

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