The volleyball team defeated Pomona-Pitzer 25-18, 25-27, 25-17, 25-21 in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament on Nov. 15.
The Comets were picked to play in the NCAA tournament on the basis of their outstanding 30-8 record. The Comets had failed to win a single set in their two previous appearances in the tournament in 2008 and 2009.
That changed today as the team got off to a blistering start in the first set taking an early 10-5 lead over the Sagehens.
The Comets played better than they did in the ASC tournament. Their formation on court was more stable, and they left very few holes on the floor for Pomona-Pitzer to attack.
Some excellent play by sophomore setter Kayla Jordan, sophomore hitter Meredith Crawford and freshman middle-blocker Blake Johnson won UTD the first set of the match 25-18.
The Sagehens struck back with some good plays in the second set as the two teams played neck-to-neck. The opponents took an early lead at 5-2 and led the Comets until the team rallied back to take the lead at 9-8. The Comets held a three-point lead halfway into the second set, leading the Sagehens 16-13.
The opponents quickly reassembled and tied the game at 16-1,6 and the two teams alternated winning points until the Comets had set point at 24-23. They failed to convert it as the Sagehens equalized. Pomona-Pitzer took the lead at 26-25 and took just one set point to win the set 27-25.
The 10-minute break before the third set helped the Comets gather themselves. The third set was also a close affair until the Comets took a three-point lead at 16-13. The Comets did not look back and won six straight points to win the set 25-17.
Pomona-Pitzer seemed to be in complete control of the fourth set and looked good enough to force the match into the deciding set before the Comets blitzed through their opponents.
The Comets were trailing 16-1,1 but some excellent plays by the team equalized the score at 19-19. A hitting error by the Sagehens gave the Comets the lead at 21-20. They conceded just one more point before wrapping the set and match.
Junior hitter Taylour Toso finished the match with 17 kills, while sophomore setter Kayla Jordan recorded a remarkable 54 assists. Sophomore hitter Abbie Barth had 13 kills, Crawford and Johnson finished the night with 12 kills each. Freshman libero Mary Speights recorded a season-best of 27 digs.
The Comets will face the winner of the California-Lutheran and Hardin-Simmons match at 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 16.
The Comets faced California-Lutheran once in a pre-season tournament this year and lost the match in straight sets. The Comets also lost to Hardin-Simmons in their opening game of the ASC tournament but led HSU 2-1 this year.