Campbell defeats Wofford and Valparaiso, wins NCCU Invitational

Mary Crema
Mary Crema

DURHAM, N.C.  – Campbell defeated Wofford 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-18) and Valparaiso 3-2 (16-25, 25-18, 25-22, 22-25, 15-9) Saturday to finish the NCCU Invitational 3-0, claiming the championship.

Junior Mary Crema was named tournament most valuable player, while senior Lorin Thomas and freshman Summer Schuitema were selected to the all-tournament team.

For the second-straight game, Campbell won in three straight sets, defeating Wofford 3-0 in the morning session.

"We played really well as a team," head coach Greg Goral said. "We had lots of energy and resilience when the games were close. We had a very balanced attack and may players contributed offensively against a scrappy Wofford squad."

Schuitema registered 27 assists, three digs, and two kills in the outing, while Thomas tallied 10 kills, four blocks, and three digs. Defensively, Crema dug 17 attacks and freshman libero Kayla Schanback added 10 digs.

In the first set, the Camels (2-0) and Terriers (0-2) remained in a stalemate to 12 points until CU went on a 5-0 run to lead 17-12 as Alexis Hein registered two aces and a kill. 
The Terriers crept back to within one of CU, 21-22, but the Camels finished out the set  with a Thomas kill to secure the 25-21 win.

In the second set, neither team led by more than three until Campbell went on a seven-point tear on the back of two aces from Crema to put CU up 24-18.The Terriers attempted to close the gap with three-straight kills, but a service error secured the 25-21 win to put the Camels up two sets.

The Camels' largest margin of victory in a set against Wofford was 7 in the third.
Campbell took the early 5-1 lead on three kills, but the Terriers answered with five straight points to lead 6-5. It was the only time the Camels trailed in the set as they answered with three points, to regain the 8-6 lead.

Wofford came back to tie the score five times until Campbell took the lead for good with four-straight points to lead 18-14, led by two Katelyn Layden kills. The final sprint for the Camels was five points to go up 23-16, before two Terrier errors secured the second win of the season for the Camels.

In the final game of the day, Campbell fell in its first set of the season against Valparaiso after the Crusaders jumped to a 6-0 lead. The Camels could never take the lead, even after a 6-0 run to cut the Crusader lead to 23-16. Valpo closed out the set and went up 1-0.

"We gave a tremendous effort to win against a very tough team," Goral said. " Valpo really took it to us in game one, but we composed ourselves and fought really well to win games two and three."

The Camels regained their momentum from the previous two games with a 25-18 win in the second set. The teams battled back and forth until the Camels finally broke away on a six-point sprint to close out the game, including two Jessica Groen kills. 

Campbell won its second set in a row in another tight race to 25. The turning point in the set started with a Jenny Tait kill to put the Camels ahead 19-18. CU followed with three points, taking a 22-18 lead. The teams traded points, until Groen put away the 25th point for Campbell with a kill.

The Crusaders took the fourth set, 25-22, after going on an 8-3 run to lead 24-18, the largest of the set for either side. After a four-point CU comeback, Valpo tied the game 2-2 after a Groen attack error.

"We put ourselves in a good position to win game four and came up just short," Goral continued. "But again, we responded with a great offensive and defensive effort in game five. Lorin Thomas was dominant at the net and both Alexis Hein and Jessica Groen with 19 kills each from the outside is really huge for us."

Campbell clinched its third-straight victory of the season, winning the deciding fifth set 15-9.

The Camels secured the win with a 5-1 run to end the set, using kills from Groen and Hein.
Schuitema tallied a season-high 48 assists in the game, with seven digs and two aces. Hein and Groen each finished with 19 kills, while Crema registered 20 digs. Thomas added four solo blocks and seven block assists. 

Campbell continues play Tuesday at Duke with a 6:30 p.m. game time.