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2014 Division II Women’s Volleyball

Tampa avenges lone loss to win second title

Tampa’s season began with a trip to Europe. It ended with a 30-game winning streak and a national championship. Tampa’s head coach Chris Catanach doesn’t view those events as mutually exclusive: the preseason trip gave his players an early start to build chemistry and to learn each other’s personalities, quirks, strengths and weaknesses. They went on to lose just one match all season.

It prepared Tampa to face seven-time defending champion Concordia-St. Paul in the NCAA championship match, Catanach said. Concordia’s dominant streak, though, was broken when it fell in the second round to nine-loss Southwest Minnesota State, which happened to be the team responsible for Tampa’s lone loss. In their first meeting, Tampa made an uncharacteristic 14 service errors, more than double its season average. And twenty-nine Tampa wins later, Southwest Minnesota State was waiting on the other end of the net in the tournament final.

“I think the team losing the first match has the advantage in the second because they are more likely to make adjustments,” Catanach said. “We felt like we would correct those [mistakes].”

The Spartans were undaunted, their past errors only memories. They committed only two service errors in the championship match and captured their first title since 2006, each championship a bookend to Concordia’s long title run.

The Results

CHAMPIONSHIP
Tampa def. Southwest Minnesota State
25-14, 25-20, 25-21

SEMIFINALS
Tampa def. Arkansas-Fort Smith
25-9, 25-17, 21-25, 25-17

Southwest Minnesota State def. Grand Valley State
25-19, 25-23, 25-18

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Kelsey Hull, Sonoma State
Kaitlyn Wolters, Grand Valley State
Abby Aiken, Grand Valley State
Emily Tripp, Arkansas-Fort Smith
Abbey Thissen, Southwest Minnesota State
Whitney Burmeister, Southwest Minnesota State
Eisha Oden, Southwest Minnesota State
Megan Larson, Southwest Minnesota State
Marissa Lisenbee, Tampa
Kahley Patrick, Tampa
Berkley Whaley, Tampa
Jessica Wagner, Tampa

MOST OUSTANDING PLAYER
Jessica Wagner, Tampa

ELITE 89 HONOREE
Claire Sames, Southwest Minnesota State 

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