The women of LMU’s club volleyball team won one of the National Club Volleyball Federation’s (NCVF) national tournaments in Denver, Colo. on April 20. The Lions competed in the Division IAAA bracket of the competition, posting an undefeated record of 9 and 0 on their way to gold.
Sophomore middle Sara Pool reflected on the feeling of winning gold and the journey her team had along the way.
“It meant a lot,” she said. “This season, we’ve had our ups and downs. To have gold is amazing.”
Although the Lions ran the tournament without losing a game, their competition still provided a stern test. LMU began pool play on Thursday, April 18, facing Kansas State, Harvard and the University of Wyoming in their pool. Kansas State put up a respectable fight in the Lions’ first match of the weekend. The Wildcats kept up with LMU in two close sets, but the Lions won both by a score of 25–22.
In LMU’s next match, Harvard came the closest to the Lions out of all the competition that weekend.
Both sets against Harvard required more than the standard 25 points to determine a winner. However, LMU emerged victorious in both, winning the first 26–24 and the second 29–27. The Lions then dispatched Wyoming in two sets, 25–23 and 25–13.
“We kind of just played our game the entire time,” Pool said. “We never really got fazed if we went up or if [the opposing team] got a point. We just kept playing our game. We’d be down 22–24 and we’d come back and win.”
The Lions were placed with the University of North Texas and Georgetown University in their next round of pool play. LMU beat both of these opponents with ease. Neither North Texas nor Georgetown reached the 20-point mark in their matches against the Lions. These performances qualified LMU for the gold bracket, taking place the next day, April 20.
Gold bracket play began with a morning game against Indiana State. The Lions dominated the early match, beating Indiana State in two sets with scores of 25–14 and 25–8. This was followed by a second-round matchup against the University of Nebraska, another opponent that LMU would blow past in two lopsided sets.
George Washington University put up a bit more of a fight in the third round than the team’s previous opposition. LMU won the first set, followed by a very close second set that ended in a Lion victory by the score of 26–24. With this win, the team earned themselves a spot in the final of the Division IAAA tournament and the opportunity to compete for a gold medal.
In the final, the Lions faced off against worthy competition in University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP). UWSP was the only other undefeated team out of the original field of 48, matching the perfect record held by LMU.
The Lions were up to the challenge that UWSP provided, winning the first set with a score of 25–19. In the second set, LMU secured itself a gold medal, besting the Pointers 25–20.
This tournament win represents an emphatic end to the season for the Lions of the women’s club volleyball team. The club can now rest and sit on its gold medal as they wait until next year to do it all over again.