TOWSON, Md. – College of Charleston needed five sets, but the Cougars defeated Towson 3-2 (25-21, 20-25, 21-25, 25-20, 15-12) and won the 2013 CAA Regular Season Championship.
The Cougars (22-5, 12-1) have now won the regular season or tournament conference title in each of the last 13 seasons, a streak that currently ranks second in the nation. Charleston had already wrapped up the top seed and hosting privileges for the 2013 CAA Volleyball Tournament which will be held Nov. 22-24 at the North Charleston Convention Center.
Despite losing the second and third sets, Charleston rallied from sloppy play to still outgun Towson in every team statistical category. The Cougars hit .236 with 63 kills and 77 digs. Towson hit .225 with 61 kills and 62 digs.
Darcy Dorton posted a season-high 26 kills, hitting .404 with just seven errors. She registered a double-double with 16 digs and three blocks in an outstanding championship performance.
Reserves Lexi Rhein and Grace Rebarchak made a number of big plays late in the match. Rhein finished with 13 assists and Rebarchak had three kills and four blocks, including the match-winner.
Towson’s Dayane Van Ass and Saitaua Iosia each made 17 kills to lead the Tigers attack. Van Ass hit .344, while Iosia had 10 digs. Victoria Williams added 11 kills for Towson.
College of Charleston rolled through the first set, building a 20-12 before the CofC reserves came in to play. The Tigers scored six of the next nine points to pull within 23-18 and then held off three set points, before succumbing 25-21. CofC hit .237 in the first set, led by Dorton’s seven kills.
Towson transformed in the second set and came out putting the Cougars on their heels. Charleston managed just 10 kills in the entire set, while the Tigers hit .318 and grounded 17 kills. Towson led 19-12, but the Cougars responded with a rousing run to pull to within 21-19 after two Morello kills and a Kallie McKown service ace. The home team wouldn’t let the Cougars pull even, however, winning two long rallies and eventually taking the set, 25-20.
The Cougars held slight leads throughout most of the third set until a 4-0 Towson run put the Tigers up 18-16 late. A kill from Morello made it 19-18, but Charleston could not stay within a point for the rest of the set with Towson winning 25-21. The set featured uneven play on both sides with several conversational delays, but the Tigers ultimately pulled it out by forcing seven CofC hitting errors.
With the match on the line, Charleston did what it needed in the fourth set, hitting .355 as a team. Grace Rebarchak made four blocks while Lexi Rhein came into make seven assists. Dorton continued with six more kills in the set. Charleston held a two- and three-point lead for most of the set, pushing it to six at 23-17 after a block from Morello and Rebarchak. Rebarchak finished off the Tigers with a kill and a 25-20 set victory.
CofC did not trail at all in the fifth set, holding an 8-5 lead at the turn. Towson went on a 4-0 run to tie the score at 12 after a CofC attack error. But Dorton put the Cougars on her back with two consecutive kills to force match point, and then Rebarchak slammed home the winning kill, 15-12.
Charleston will conclude the regular season tomorrow at Delaware at 7 p.m.