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Tigers Storm Past James Madison in Front of Electric Crowd

302sports 78 Nov 3

(Jarome, Towson)

-- In front of a SECU Arena record for volleyball, the Towson University women's volleyball team handled its business Friday night in front of an electric crowd, taking down James Madison University 3-1 (25-18, 21-25, 26-24, 25-16).

Towson (21-2, 11-0 CAA) remained unbeaten in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) with the four-set win over the Dukes while also extending its winning streak out to 15. Towson completed the regular season sweep of James Madison after topping the Dukes in four sets at the end of September.

The thriller of the match was the third set as the Tigers fought off four set points and reeled off six points in a row after trailing 24-20 to take the set 26-24 and a two-sets to one lead and grab back the momentum.

The Tigers were led by four players in double-digit kills, including 17 from senior right side Olivia Finckel. Emily Jarome added 15 while Annie Ertz and Lydia Wiers finished with 12 and 11, respectively. Senior setter Marrisa Wonders had another double-double with 50 assists and a career-best 21 digs.

The Dukes (14-7, 8-3 CAA) saw a six-match winning streak come to an end Friday night. James Madison was led by 15 kills from K'Kaela White, who hit .353 in the match. Libero Savannah Marshall had a team-best 17 digs while Sarah Martin posted 35 assists. James Madison was limited to a .184 hitting percentage as a team.

How it Happened
  • Set one started out business as usual for the Tigers as Towson opened a 3-0 lead early. The Tigers held James Madison in check through the first half of the opening frame, keeping the Dukes from making any headway. The Tigers extended their lead to 17-11 in the first with a 5-1 burst before the Dukes trimmed it back to 18-15. 
  • Later, the Tigers finished the opening set with a 4-1 flourish for the 25-18 decision.
  • In the second set, Towson jumped out to a 3-1 lead but James Madison rallied past for a 5-3 lead behind a 4-0 run. The Dukes continued their momentum out to a 17-8 lead as Towson struggled to put together consecutive points. Towson got in rythym later in the second and trimmed the Dukes' lead to 18-15 and eventually back to within one of the lead, 21-20. Towson got a kill from Finckel and an ace from Asia Goins in that burst while capitalizing on JMU miscues.
  • However, James Madison scored four of the next five points for a 25-21 set decision.
  • The visitors carried the match's momentum past the break and jumped out to a quick 5-2 lead in the third set. Then it was the Tigers' turn to surge out for a 9-7 lead with a 6-1 run that included three kills from Finckel.
  • Both sides traded blows through the middle of the third set before JMU scored a 6-1 run for a 17-15 lead. The Dukes continued into the 20s before taking a 24-20 lead.
  • Facing set point, Wonders stepped to the line and served five-straight points with two kills from Jarome and one each from Finckel and Wiers. The latter two added a block in the run as Towson regained a 2-1 lead in the match with a 26-24 decision in the third.
  • The back half of the fourth set belonged to the Tigers as Towson pushed past an 11-10 deficit, building out to a 17-14 lead.
  • James Madison tried to fight back with Towson leading 18-16 and force a fifth set, but Towson posted seven unanswered points, including an Allen ace, to finish off the set and keep the winning ways alive.

Behind the Numbers
  • Towson had four players in double digit kills, led by 17 from Finckel at a .343 rate. Jarome posted 15 with a dozen digs for her first double-double since Oct. 13, 2019. Ertz continued her strong play with 12 kills while three-time reigning Rookie of the Week Wiers added another 11 to her season.
  • Wonders notched 50 assists, her third time hitting the 50-assist plateau this season. She recorded a match- and career-best 21 digs for her 11th double-double of the year. Wonders moved into sole possession of fourth-place all-time in career assists, bringing her Black & Gold total to 3,112, surpassing Mary Clare Coghlan's mark of 3,078.
  • Towson finished with seven total blocks, including seven from the hands of Finckel. Wiers and Silvia Grassini logged four and three-respectively. The Tigers limited JMU to a .184 hitting percentage. Towson has not allowed a conference opponent to hit better than .200 this season.
  • Towson hit for .261 in the match, knocking down 63 kills on 153 swings with 23 errors.
  • The Tigers logged two service aces, one from Goins and the second late in the match from Allen, who has now served at least one ace in each of the Tigers' last 19 matches.
  • Towson has won 15 straight matches, its best run since opening the 2017 campaign on a 16-0 run. The Tigers have improved to 11-0 this season in league play, the best start to league play for Towson since going 12-0 in CAA action in 2012. Dating back to last season, the Tigers have now won 16 straight league matches.
  • The Tigers set a new record at SECU Arena with 783 fans in attendance. It was the highest attendance for a volleyball match at SECU Arena, surpassing the previous best 702 from Aug. 28, 2015 against Tennessee.

Up Next for Towson
  • The Tigers return to SECU Arena Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. to take on the Blue Hens of Delaware.
  • Delaware (12-9, 4-6 CAA) hosts James Madison Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m.