AU Downs Lafayette in Straight Sets

Hoakalei Dawson
Hoakalei Dawson

WASHINGTON - Junior Allison Cappellino registered a match-high 11 kills to help lead the American University volleyball team to a 25-11, 25-8, 26-24 victory over Lafayette in Patriot League action on Saturday. 

With the victory, the Eagles improved to 10-4 on the season and 2-0 in the Patriot League, while the Leopards fell to 3-11 overall and 0-3 in the league.

American led from the start against Lafayette, using a 7-0 run to pull away from the Leopards in the opening set. Junior Sarah Katz and senior Kristyna Lindovska were the Eagles’ top hitters in the first set, finishing with three kills each, while Lafayette scored just five kills in the set.

AU was even more dominant in the second set, holding Lafayette to a -.083 attack percentage. Meanwhile, the Eagles, led by four kills from senior Kelly McCaddin, turned in a .500 hitting percentage, scoring 11 kills without a single attack error.

In the final set, American took the opportunity to rest some of its starters, giving the team’s younger players a chance to shine. The Eagles held the advantage early on, but Lafayette was able to fight back from a five-point deficit, cutting the margin to 15-14.

While the Leopards never took the lead, they did manage to tie the set, knotting the score at 22-22, 23-23 and 24-24. However, each Lafayette point was answered by American, which won the set and the match on an attack error by the Leopards.

In addition to Cappellino’s 11 kills, Katz pitched in 10 kills and a .526 attack percentage. Freshman Hoakalei Dawson, who took over as the Eagles’ setter in the third set, finished with a match-high 16 assists, while fellow rookie Erin Swartz recorded three total blocks, including a pair of solo blocks.

“I think we have a pretty deep team,” said Cappellino. “A lot of people can play different positions. We’re still trying to figure out some kinks in the lineup, but we’re working through it, putting different people in different places. It’s a great thing for us.”

For the match, Lafayette was held to a .037 attack percentage and just 19 kills, the lowest total by an AU opponent this season.

“Certainly it was a good defensive effort,” said Goldberg. “By the end of game two, when we went to the break, it was clear we were controlling their attack pretty well. [Lafayette] started to catch fire a little bit in the third game and we knew they would come out swinging better.

“Some of our newer and younger players got a chance to compete [in the third set]. I’m glad they found a way through the game [at the end]. Hopefully we learned some things, because everyone’s going to be needed by the time the season’s over. It’ll be good experience for us to climb and get better as the season goes on.”

The Eagles will take a short break from conference play, as they host UMES this Wednesday, Oct. 1, at 7 p.m.