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Thomas More sweeps past Christopher Newport, advances to regional championship match

NKyTribune staff

HUNTINGDON, Pa. — Exactly one year and a day later, the same team that eliminated Thomas More from the 2017 NCAA Division III Tournament tried to repeat that deed again Saturday.

Not this time.

Emily Mohs hammered down 16 kills and attacked at a .455 clip as Thomas More avenged last season’s five-set defeat to Christopher Newport by sweeping the Captains on Saturday, 25-21, 25-13, 25-19. The Saints improved to 33-3 and advanced to Sunday’s regional championship match against host Juniata (Pa.).

Thomas More’s Emily Mohs slams an attack against Christopher Newport in the NCAA Division III Tournament. Mohs finished with 16 kills and hit .455. (Photo by J.D. Cavrich)

“We knew during the selection show when the brackets came out that we would get another shot at Christopher Newport as long as we could take care of business in the first round,” said Thomas More senior setter Jenna Fessler. “Everyone, including all of the newcomers, was excited to have the chance to avenge that heartbreaking loss from last year. We wanted to make a statement.”

Thomas More, ranked No. 7 nationally in the NCAA Division III poll, sent a resounding statement on Saturday. The Saints hit .272 for the match and held No. 24 Christopher Newport (26-6) to a .076 attacking clip. The Saints were torrid with their attacks the first two sets, hitting .312 in the opener and .346 in the second frame.

Defensively, Madison Krumpelman and Jessica Ginn each finished with 10 digs. Hannah Just scooped up nine digs, while Julia Popova recorded four blocks in the middle. Jenna Mummert and Carlee Lambert each collected three blocks.

“Christopher Newport was big and had many heavy hitters. Our defense made a lot of key digs on their hard swings, and for hitters to constantly get dug, it’s frustrating,” Fessler said. “When our defense plays like that, it’s hard for teams to score on us.”

Thomas More held standout attacker Katie Piper to a -.045 hitting percentage with six errors and five kills in 22 attempts.

Fessler directed the offense and finished with 27 assists, and she added seven digs and three kills with a .500 hitting percentage. Mummert slammed down 10 kills, and Krumpelman added five kills.

Thomas More will square off at 2 p.m. Sunday against No. 6 Juniata for a trip to next week’s NCAA Division III national quarterfinals in Pittsburgh. Juniata (26-3) swept Mary Washington (Va.) in the other regional semifinal on Saturday. The Eagles have won 24 consecutive matches going into Sunday’s regional championship.

(Information compiled from Thomas More and staff reports)

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