NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Kennesaw State advanced to the Atlantic Sun Volleyball Championship Semifinals for the second time on Thursday night with a 3-0 sweep over Stetson. The Owls will take on No. 2-seed FGCU in Friday's semifinal at 7:30 p.m. CT.
Kelly Marcinek recorded a match-high 13 kills including the final one in the third set to seal the victory for the Owls. Libero Katarina Morton had a team-high 20 digs in the victory. Haley Tippett led Stetson with 12 kills.
In a tightly contested first set, the Owls were victorious 25-23 despite the Hatters hitting .406 in the set. Kelly Marcinek came out on fire with six kills in eight attacking attempts. Katarina Morton led the Owls' defense with nine digs, while Stetson's Haley Tippett and Shelby Connors combined for nine kills.
In the second set, the Hatters jumped out to an early lead 5-2, but the Owls responded to take a 10-7 lead and force Stetson into a timeout. The teams battled back and forth, before the Owls went on an 8-0 run to take command of the set at 22-13. Marcinek and Liesl Engelbrecht scored the final two points to give KSU the second set, 25-15, and a 2-0 lead at intermission.
In the third set, each team traded 4-0 runs coming out of intermission. The Owls pushed their lead to 9-5 behind another 4-0 run capped by a Rachel Taylor kill. The teams traded points, but the Hatters were unable to make up the deficit as Kennesaw State won 26-24 to secure its first-ever victory in an A-Sun Championship match.
The Owls will now face No. 2 FGCU in tomorrow's second semifinal with the first serve scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT from Allen Arena. The match can be seen live on ESPN3 and follows the other Semifinal between No. 1 Lipscomb and No. 4 Jacksonville at 5 p.m. CT.
Kennesaw State vs. Stetson Championship Notes:
- The Owls were 0-4 entering tonight's A-Sun Championship match and will now play in tomorrow's Semifinal for only the second time in program history.
- Kelly Marcinek recorded 13 kills to lead Kennesaw State's attack. It was her first match of 10 or more kills since September 18. Her .667 hitting percentage was the highest in a single match for the junior.
- Katarina Morton reached 20 or more digs for the sixth time this season. Her previous season-high was eight against Stetson.
- Haley Tippett led the Hatters in kills with 12 in tonight's match. It marks the 20th time this season she reached double-digits in kills.