Flagler volleyball wins third regional title, advances to national tournament

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Flagler College seniors Sara Davis and Taja Valmyr were not going to let tonight be the end of their collegiate volleyball careers. The two combined for 20 kills as top seeded Flagler swept No. 2 Wingate University 25-17, 25-9 and 25-23 to claim its third NCAA Division II Southeast Regional championship (2009 and 2011).

Flagler (27-3) advances to the NCAA Division II National Championships, which will be held Dec. 7-9 at Pensacola, Florida. The final eight teams will be seeded and the national quarterfinals will be announced at a later date. Wingate concluded the season with a 27-4 record.

Davis finished with a .364 hitting percentage as she had 10 kills and two errors on 22 swings. Valmyr hit .219 with 10 kills and three errors on 32 swings. Karlie Redfern added eight kills and 10 digs. The Flagler trio were all selected to the all-tournament team.

Kayla Norelli led the defense with 14 digs while Tara Savisky tallied 27 assists to go along with seven digs.

Katie Bludau record nine kills, but was limited to a .086 hitting percentage. She had six errors on 35 swings. Lynnlee Mather added four kills and three total blocks while Rachel Alles tallied 17 assists. Those three players were named to the all-tournament team.

The Saints used a 5-0 spurt in the first set to pull away from the Bulldogs with a 19-12 lead. Davis had two kills in the run, but Wingate had two hitting errors to contribute to the spurt. Davis hit a red-hot .545 in the first set with six kills on 11 errorless swings.

Flagler was never threatened in the second set. A massive 13-4 tear which had seven hitting errors, including three in a row at the end, by Wingate. The Bulldogs hit -.200 with five kills and 10 errors on 25 swings.

The third set offered the most intrigue with nine ties and four lead changes. A Valmyr kill tied the set at 16-all, and then consecutive hitting errors by the Bulldogs gave Flagler a lead (18-16) it would not relinquish. However, an Anne Abernathy kill fought off the first match point for Wingate, but Kori Adams’ serve was errant to end the match.