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Published: December 12, 2021

Tampa Volleyball Wins Fourth National Championship

The No. 1 seed University of Tampa volleyball team played for the 2021 NCAA Division II national championship at home, capturing the program's fourth national title following a 3-0 sweep over Washburn University.

volleyball team photoThe No. 1 seed University of Tampa volleyball team played for the 2021 NCAA Division II national championship at home, capturing the program's fourth national title following a 3-0 sweep over Washburn University. Photo by Tim Britt

HOW IT HAPPENED:

First Set: Tampa forced an early Washburn timeout with a 13-9 UT lead. The Spartans would hold a slim lead for the remainder of the set, leading by as many as five points on four occasions. The Ichabods came within three points, 20-17, prompting a timeout from UT head coach Chris Catanach. Tampa came out of the timeout with a pair of kills to lead 23-17. The Spartans would close out the opening set with a pair of kills from All-American Katie McKielScore: 1-0 Tampa

Second Set: The story of the second set was a Spartan offense that hit .447 with no errors. Washburn would hit .234 in the set, and pushed the Spartans to the brink as the Ichabods had match point with a 24-23 advantage. In a set where neither team led by more than two points, Tampa kept momentum in the match as it scored the final three points of the set behind kills from Sierra Rayzor and Sorrel Houghton, followed by an attack error by Washburn on set point for the Spartans. Score: 2-0 Tampa

Third Set: With the national championship within reach, and furious support from its home crowd, the Spartans answered the call with 18 kills to go with a .429 hitting percentage in the third set. A 1-0 lead was the lone lead for the Ichabods in the set, with Tampa pushing its advantage to five at 21-16 on a block by Rayzor and McKiel. Following a Washburn timeout, McKiel pushed the Spartans closer to the victory with a kill to make it 22-16 Spartans. Washburn would respond with three straight points, trimming the UT lead to 22-19 and leading to a UT timeout. The teams would trade points out of the timeout. Following a McKiel kill, Tampa had its first match point at 24-21. Rayzor took the serve, and the Spartan defense regained possession for a kill from freshman Kalli Corrs on match point to win the match, and the title for Tampa. Score: 3-0 Tampa

INSIDE THE STATS:

  • Taylor Fosler hit .615 with nine kills and a block.
  • A day after notching a school-record 45 digs, Rivera registered 23 to lead all Spartans.
  • McKiel was the lone Spartan with double-digit kills, closing the match with 16.
  • Emily Noe and Melissa Elias both notched double-doubles, with 15 assists and 16 digs from  Noe and 28 assists and 10 digs from Elias.
  • McKiel and Rayzor each had a pair of blocks.
  • Tampa would hit .361 in the match and out dig its opponent 69-59.

OUTSIDE THE BOX:

  • A pair of perennial powers, Tampa and Washburn are no strangers in the postseason. The Spartans took a 3-0 sweep over the Ichabods in the 2018 national semifinals, while Washburn was victorious 3-2 in the 2007 NCAA national quarterfinals.
  • This is the fourth national championship for Tampa volleyball, with the Spartans now winning the title in 2006, 2014, 2018 and now 2021.
  • The University of Tampa now has 20 national championships from its varsity athletic teams.
  • With 34 wins, this marks the most since 2014 for UT.
  • The announced attendance was a school-record 1,854 fans.


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