NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - Junior Sarah Katz tallied 14 kills and classmate Allison Cappellino added 13 kills as the American University volleyball team swept Akron, 25-20, 25-19, 25-18, Saturday at the Rutgers Invitational.
With the victory, the Eagles improved to 8-4 on the season, while the Zips fell to 6-9 overall.
American got out to a hot start against Akron, taking an early 8-1 lead in the first set, but the Zips battled back, getting as close as one point. Both teams hit well in the set, but the Eagles were able to hold off Akron down the stretch for the 25-20 victory.
Katz and Cappellino each recorded five kills in the set to lead American, which registered a .364 attack percentage.
In the second set, AU led from the start, getting out to a 20-10 advantage before Akron attempted to make a run. However, the Zips could get no closer than 24-19 before an Akron service error gave American the set victory. Senior Kelly McCaddin stood out for the Eagles in the second set, recording four kills on five attacks.
Akron held a short-lived advantage in the third set, but American pushed ahead, eventually leading 20-12 before securing the 25-18 victory. Katz and Cappellino again led the Eagles' attack, each posting six kills in the set.
At the conclusion of the tournament, senior setter Monika Smidova was selected as the most valuable player of the Rutgers Invitational, while she was joined on the all-tournament team by Katz and McCaddin.
Smidova totaled 114 assists in three matches over the weekend, including a season-high 49 assists in the Eagles' win over Princeton on Friday. She also averaged 2.91 digs per set and recorded a .455 attack percentage. Katz led American with 3.73 kills per set, registering a career-best 18 kills versus Princeton, while McCaddin averaged 2.45 kills and 1.18 blocks per set, along with a .404 hitting percentage.
"It was so nice to come home and play the teams I grew up following," said McCaddin, a native of West Caldwell, N.J. "Seeing my family was amazing and it was great to come in, play solid and get some quality wins before we head into league play next week."
American returns home next Friday, Sept. 26, as it hosts Bucknell in its Patriot League opener.