OXFORD, Miss. - The road to the National Invitational Volleyball Championship runs through Oxford, as Ole Miss shut out West Virginia 3-0 here Saturday at the Gillom Athletics Performance Center to advance to the championship match.
The Rebels will host Texas Tech in the championship match Dec. 12 at 6 p.m. Tickets will be $8 and available for purchase at the door. Students will get in free with their student I.D.
Sophomore Emily Stroup led the way again Saturday, with a match-high 19 kills (6.3 K/S) on a .286 clip.
West Virginia took an early 8-4 lead in set one, but the Rebels went on a 4-0 run with strong serving from Nicole Purcell to tie it at 8. The two teams traded points, but at 17-17, the Rebels won two straight points to go up 19-17. They held on for 25-23.
The Rebels trailed 10-6 at the start of set two, but they used a 6-1 run to go up 12-11 forcing a timeout by West Virginia. Neither team led by more than two the rest of the way. At 21-21, back-to-back attack errors by WVU gave the Rebels a 23-21 lead. After WVU's Payton Caffrey earned a kill to get the Mountaineers within one, 23-22, Stroup stepped up and delivered the Rebels their first set point. WVU followed with an attack error to hand Ole Miss the set, 25-22, and a 2-0 lead in the match.
Trailing 5-1 early in set three, the Rebels went on an 8-1 run with six kills, to take a 9-6 lead. The Rebels extended their lead to 13-8 midway through the set and WVU used its final timeout. The Mountaineers never got any closer as the Rebels closed out the set 25-17 and the match 3-0.
• Ole Miss improved to 21-14 on the season.
• The Rebels are now 2-1 all-time against West Virginia.
• The Rebels have won five in a row and will play for their first postseason championship.
• Sophomore Emily Stroup posted 19 kills on a .286 attack percentage to lead the Rebels.
• Senior Kate Gibson tallied 10 kills, 9 digs and 2 service aces.
• Junior Caroline Adams posted 12 digs and now needs just 8 to set the single-season record.
• Freshman setter Lauren Bars finished with 18 assists and 3 blocks.
• Sophomore setter Jordan Fate recorded 15 assists and 5 digs.
Talking to Emily Stroup...
"This was a great team win, and we are really excited to be playing in the championship. The fans were awesome and the atmosphere was amazing. We can't wait for Tuesday. We are happy that we are playing so well here at the end of the season and we just want to keep playing together with Kate and Lexi. We only have a couple of days left with this team."
On West Virginia...
"We just went through our normal routine like do for an SEC match We knew they had a lot of hard-swinging outside hitters. We are used to a faster pace, and they play a higher ball, so that was different."
The Rebels will face Texas Tech Dec. 12 at 6 p.m. for the NIVC title.