BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Making perhaps their first big statement of the year, the Chaminade University women’s volleyball opened the Western Washington Invitational Saturday with a stunning 18-25, 25-21, 24-26, 25-23, 17-15 upset over MSU Denver at Carver Gymnasium.
The Silverswords got a career-high 18 kills from Greta Corti (Varese, Italy/University of San Francisco/Alessandro Manzoni Liceo) and 12 from Brooklen Pe‘a (Woods Cross, Utah/Youngstown State University/Bountiful HS) to help the ’Swords rally and take down the 11th-ranked team in the AVCA Preseason Top 25 Poll.
The Silverswords will wrap up the first day of the Invitational against Sonoma State at 2 p.m. today.
The win snapped an eight-match losing streak to nationally-ranked opponents and is the highest ranked foe the ’Swords have defeated since beating No. 8 Nebraska-Kearney in September 2006.
Chaminade, after having dropped the first match to MSUD, used a 16-1 run early in the second including 10 straight trips to the service line for Tate Lutu (Honolulu/Sacred Hearts Academy). The Roadrunners managed to make things interesting with a big run of their own before the ’Swords put them away to square the match.
The third set saw Chaminade battle back from a 13-7 deficit, eventually serving for set point at 24-22 before MSU Denver took four straight points to take a 2-1 lead.
In Set 4, the ’Swords built a 13-2 advantage before the Roadrunners rallied to draw within a single point five times. Pe‘a’s kill would finally end it, sending the match to a decisive fifth set.
With their backs to the preverbal wall late in the final set down 12-14, Chaminade staved off two match points with one of eight Kyra McCain (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) kills followed by a forced hitting MSUD hitting error. A block from the combination of McCain and Alexia Byrnes (Chicago/Youngstown State/Saint Francis HS), set up the first of two aloha balls for the ’Swords.
Tied at 15, Chaminade went up 16-15 on a service error then ended it when Corti and Lataisia Saulala (Morgan Hill, Calif./Oakwood) double-blocked Alexis Benda.
McCain racked up eight total blocks, including three solo, tying her career high. Along with her career-best in kills, Corti also had 18 digs as did Byrnes, the latter adding 42 assists. Anna Dalla Vecchia (Vicenza, Italy/University of San Francisco/IIS S.B. Boscardin) tallied 21 digs while Lutu had five service aces.
Annah Rivera (Granada Hills, Calif./Bishop Alemany) added eight kills to help spark the ’Swords’ comeback in the second set.
After hitting -.029 in the first set, Chaminade got their hitting percentage to .177 overall with 60 kills, 57 assists, 85 digs and 10 total team blocks.
The Roadrunners (2-1) hit .205 with 65 kills, 12 service aces and 11 total team blocks.