Saturday, Nov. 8 was a day to celebrate at Maryville College, as both the Scots’ volleyball team and women’s soccer team proved victorious in their USA South Conference Championship matches. Both teams will move on to the NCAA Division III Regional Tournament and compete with 64 teams for a National Championship.
After entering the USA South Conference Tournament as the No. 4-seed with a 9-2-1 conference record and a three game win-streak, the Lady Scots soccer team out scored opponents 7-3 in three impressive victories, earning them the 2013-14 USA South Conference Title and a trip to the NCAA Regional Tournament for the first time since 2010.
The Scots dominated Greensboro in the first round of the tournament. Allyson Hale scored to tie the game 1-1 before the half. A goal by Gabby Billstrom followed by a second goal by Hale put the Scots up 3-1. Following a Greensboro score, Kirsten Alcorn assisted Monica Besbris in the 62nd minute to put the game out of reach for Greensboro, with the Scots winning by a 4-2 score.
Maryville would go on to face No. 1-seed Meredith in the conference semifinals. MC goalkeepers Rachel Taylor and Mandy Marshall shutout the top-ranked team in the conference, as Meredith hit zero of their 12 shot attempts. A goal by freshman forward Kirsten Alcorn in the 40th minute was all the Scots needed, giving them the 1-0 victory and a spot in the conference finals.
In order to clinch the conference title, Maryville would have to pull another upset against No. 3-seed Methodist. Maryville would rely on the spectacular play of the two-time conference player of the week, forward Sierra Siegel. The junior from Valrico, FL struck quickly with a goal in the eighth minute to give the Scots a 1-0 lead. A handball by the Scots in the 80th minute allowed Methodist to score on a free kick by Jessie Oder to tie the game 1-1. This score would hold through the end of regulation and the first overtime. In the second overtime, Siegel sealed the title by knocking through the game winning goal—her sixth game-winner of the year—to give the Scots a 2-1 victory.
The goal by Siegel accounted for her 16th in conference play, which led the USA South this season. Her 39 points led the conference as well, and she ranked third in assists. She has recorded four game-winning goals in conference games, which ranks third as well. These accolades earned Siegel USA South Player of the Year honors. Siegel was named tournament MVP for her clutch performance and was one of four Scots named to the All-Tournament Team, those being forwards Allyson Hale and Kirsten Alcorn and mid-fielder Lizzy Simmons.
Hale’s 15 goals ranked second in the conference behind Siegel and N.C. Wesleyan’s Rebecca Staylor who both had 18, earning Hale USA South First Team All-Conference honors. Defender Eleni Mavres also earned first team honors as she helped lead the Scots to seven shutouts on the season. Simmons was named to the all-conference second team along with defender Mackenzie Hutton, and senior goalkeeper Megan Nugent was named to the all-sportsmanship team.
The conference title gives the Scots an automatic bid into the NCAA Regional Tournament in Crestview Hills, KY, where they will face 20-1 Thomas More College on Nov. 14.
The Lady Scots volleyball team completed the season with an undefeated 16-0 conference record and breezed by their conference opponents in the USA South Conference Tournament in Martinsville, VA, winning 9 of 11 sets in their three games. They faced Covenant College in the conference final and defeated them in four sets by scores of 25-17, 25-15, 22-25 and 25-17, giving the Scots their second consecutive USA South Conference Title.
Scots’ standout senior Kelsey Handel was named USA South Player of the Year for her conference leading .362 kill percentage, which ranks 18th nationally. Handel recorded 257 kills this season and was joined at the net by all-conference standouts Mary Kate White and Rachel Kozemko. White recorded 233 kills this season while Kozemko added 207. Setter Morgan Hall also earned USA South All-Conference honors, recording an average of 5.22 sets per match. Kristi Bowlin and Lauren Bonee also directed the Scots’ offensive attack. Mallory Bonee led the MC defense with 438 digs on the season and 4.09 digs per set played, and was awarded the USA South Libero of the Year award
The MC volleyball team (28-6) will head to St. Louis, MO to face the Hendrix College Warriors (30-5) in the first round of the NCAA Division III Regional Tournament on Nov. 14.
This will be the Scots’ 12th NCAA Tournament appearance under the direction of head coach Kandis Schram, and their second in their two years in the USA South. Schram grabbed USA South Coach of the Year honors as well.
Schram stated that Hendrix College is a “solid program,” but said, “I think we can play with them. We’re going to have to be operating on all of our cylinders to beat them, but I really think we can compete. That’s exciting.”