WASHINGTON – Freshman Aleksandra Kazala posted a career-high 15 kills to lead the American University volleyball team to a 25-19, 25-19, 25-20 victory over Colgate in the first semifinal of the 2015 Patriot League Tournament Saturday at Bender Arena.
The Eagles, seeded first in the tournament, improved to 26-6 overall on the season, while the Raiders ended the year with a 12-16 overall record.
Senior Allison Cappellino added 13 kills and nine digs for American, while classmate Kristyna Lindovska finished with eight kills and five blocks. In addition, Monika Smidova, the PL Player and Setter of the Year, recorded 29 assists and a team-best 14 digs for the Eagles.
The match was close throughout, featuring a total of 18 ties and eight lead changes. However, runs by the Eagles in each set made the difference.
In the first set, it was a 7-0 run with Cappellino at the service line that broke a 10-10 tie. Although the Raiders battled back to within four points at 20-16, but the Eagles closed out strong to get the win.
The second set saw American respond to a 12-8 Colgate advantage with an 11-3 run. Meanwhile, the Eagles pulled away from the Raiders in the third set with a 5-1 run at the midpoint.
"Colgate serves very well," said American head coach Barry Goldberg. "They were hitting serves pretty tough at us, but our serve receive was able to fight off the tough serves and that gave us opportunities to attack the ball. Every time we had good opportunities, our hitters were able to hit the ball well."
With today's win, American advances to the Patriot League championship match tomorrow at 1 p.m., marking the 15th time in 15 seasons that the Eagles have appeared in the title match. AU will face the second-seed Army West Point, which defeated third-seed Lehigh in straight sets in the second semifinal.
Tickets for Sunday's championship are available by clicking here and are priced at $8 for adults and $5 for youth and seniors. AU students are admitted for free with a valid AU ID.