CHARLESTON, S.C. – It was a historic week for College of Charleston athletics as volleyball claimed the school’s first ever Colonial Athletic Association championship, sailing performed well at the Atlantic Coast Championships, Cross Country finished the season on a high note, and men’s and women’s basketball continued to play top-notch competition.
VOLLEYBALL WINS FIRST CAA CHAMPIONSHIP
It was a red-letter week for Cougar volleyball as they claimed their first Colonial Athletic Association regular season title on Friday night, defeating Towson in five. Darcy Dorton posted a season-high 26 kills, hitting .404 with just seven errors, tacking on 16 digs and three blocks. Also performing well was Melissa Morello, who made 11 kills and seven digs, while Sloane White reached 10 kills. Junior Andi Zbojniewicz led all players with 24 digs while Taeler Davis tallied 27 assists.
On Saturday, the team finished the 2013 regular season with a strong performance, sweeping Delaware on the Blue Hens’ Senior Night. Charleston (23-5, 13-1) won the final two matches of the regular season to improve its overall record to 23-5, the second-highest regular season winning percentage (.821) in head coach Jason Kepner’s seven-year tenure.
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.
EQUESTRIAN EXPANDS REGIONAL LEAD
College of Charleston equestrian took home top team honors for the third consecutive show when the Cougars championed their home-hosted Intercollegiate Horse Show Association competition at Storybook Farm.
The Cougars won in thrilling fashion, edging out second-place Georgia Southern by a single point after an all-day back-and-forth affair which came down to the last class of the day. By the time the dust settled, the Cougars championed nine of 18 classes held throughout the day with freshmen Blaine Ferraro and Victoria Bauer tying for Reserve High Point Rider honors by winning the Open Fences and Novice Flat (Section B), respectively.
MEN’S HOOPS CONTINUES TOUGH SLATE
Men’s basketball had an action-packed week, dropping two home games to UNC Asheville and defending ACC Champion, Miami (Florida). On Friday, against the Bulldogs, the Cougars mounted a second-half comeback to force overtime after a clutch three-pointer from senior Willis Hall tied the game with 35 seconds to go. It wasn’t enough; however, as the Bulldogs managed a hard-fought 67-58 win. On Monday, the defending ACC Champion Miami Hurricanes came to town, amidst a frenzied crowd at TD Arena. Despite some great performances from Hall (12 points, seven rebounds) and freshman point-guard Joe Chealey (12 points), the Hurricanes made important stops and hit several key shots to hold off the Cougars second-half comeback, eventually winning, 70-54.
WOMEN’S HOOPS SHOWS ROAD RESILIENCY
Women’s basketball (2-2) had a good week on the hardwood, showing toughness in a loss at No. 17-ranked South Carolina and then coming from behind to claim a dramatic victory over USC Upstate. In Columbia on Thursday evening, the Cougars came out firing against the highly-ranked Gamecocks, scoring the first nine points of the game and taking a 23-14 mid-way through the first half. The College was led by Afreyea Tolbert’s 14 points, 11 rebounds as well as senior floor-leader Jill Brown’s seven dimes in 40 minutes of work. On Sunday, in Spartanburg, S.C., the Cougars escaped from the G. B. Hodge Center with a dramatic 75-71 victory over the Spartans of South Carolina Upstate. Down by as many as 17 points in the second half, the Cougars mounted a furious comeback to walk away victorious, 75-71.
CROSS COUNTRY CLOSES OUT SEASON AT NCAAs
The College of Charleston men’s and women’s cross country teams saw their season come to a close this past Friday, after the Cougars gave their best in a quality performance at the NCAA Southeastern Regionals, hosted by the University of Virginia. The men were led by Mackenzie Johnston, who finished the day 86th out of 239 competitors with a time of 31:07.1. Just behind Johnston was Adam Seften who logged a time of 32:16.9. The women were led by junior Hayley McMahon, who ran a time of 22:35.4 s well as Danielle Sams, who ran a great race, finishing with a time of 22:55.9.
SAILING PUTS ON FOR ITS CITY
The No. 6-ranked College of Charleston sailing team placed third for the women and fifth for the coed team over the weekend at the Atlantic Coast Championship. The Cougars hosted the coed competition from the J. Stewart Walker Center where junior skipper Clerc Cooper and senior crew Elizabeth Chambers sailed to a fourth-place finish in the A-Division on the Charleston Harbor. At Lake Cayuga, in New York, where Cornell was hosting the women’s regatta, the team scored 237 over 14 races Good enough for a fourth place tie with Dartmouth in the 18-team regatta.
CofC STUDENT-ATHLETES of the WEEK sponsored by Harris Teeter
Willis Hall, Men’s Basketball, Sr., Charlotte, N.C. – Hall averaged 10.0 ppg and 8.5 rpg over the weekend home stand. Hall, a senior, has enjoyed a wildly successful start to his final campaign as a Cougar after starting the season with a strong performance at defending national champion Louisville and scoring the winning bucket in a thrilling home victory over Charlotte.
Darcy Dorton, Volleyball, Sr., Muncie, Ind., -- Dorton led the Cougars to the school’s first ever CAA championship, while also making a strong final case for CAA Player of the Year this past week. She finished the two match set with a .410 hitting percentage for an average of 5.38 kills per set. She raised her season average to 3.9 points per set.
INSIDE THE LINES presented by Hendrick Honda
This week's Inside the Lines recaps the action with men's and women's basketball and then takes you inside volleyball as the Cougars prepare to host the CAA Volleyball Tournament this weekend in North Charleston.
VOLLEYBALL SET TO HOST THE CAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
The College of Charleston will host the 2013 Colonial Athletic Association Volleyball Tournament at the North Charleston Convention Center on Nov. 22-24. The Cougars will have the opportunity to host their CAA event just five months into competition in the new conference. CofC volleyball won the regular season with a 23-5, 13-1 record and a healthy three-match advantage over second-place Northeastern.
The six-team volleyball tournament will open with quarterfinal action on Friday, November 22 as #5 Hofstra (16-14, 6-8 in CAA) faces #4 James Madison (13-14, 8-6 in CAA) at 4:00 p.m., followed by #6 William & Mary (11-20, 6-8 in CAA) against #3 UNCW (19-9, 8-6 in CAA) at 7:00 p.m.
In Saturday's semifinals, top-seeded CofC (23-5, 13-1 in CAA) takes on the Hofstra/James Madison winner at 1:00 p.m. Northeastern (18-10, 10-4 in CAA) meets the William & Mary/UNCW winner at 4:00 p.m.
The CAA title match will be played at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24, with the winner earning the league's automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship Tournament.
Free streaming video will be available on CAASports.com, while live stats can be viewed on CofCSports.com. Fans can also follow on social media through the @CAASports twitter account and #CAAChamps.
Tickets for the event will be sold on-site at the North Charleston Convention Center. $10 for adults and individuals and $5 for youth under 17. Tickets are valid for both sessions on Friday and Saturday. An All-Tournament pass can be purchased for $20 for adults and $10 for youth. Any student with valid ID from a CAA institution will be admitted free of charge.
Further details about the tournament, including directions to the North Charleston Convention Center, can be found on the CAA Championship Central page.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK