Volleyball Wins UNLV Tournament

Nov. 24, 2001

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The Washington State volleyball team swept William and Mary 30-26, 30-25, 30-15, Saturday night for the championship of the UNLV Thanksgiving Classic tournament played at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Washington State ends the regular season of play with a 17-11 overall record and a greater chance to be invited as an at-large team to the NCAA Championship Tournament. William and Mary, the Colonial Athletic Association champions with an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament, finished the season at 22-5 overall.

WSU's LaToya Harris was named the tournament Most Valuable Player and led the Cougars with 13 kills and two aces in the title match. Chelsie Schafer, with 12 kills, also made the six-player all-tournament team. Melissa Boyle slapped down seven blocks and Kali Surplus scored another double-double with 46 assists and the match-high 17 digs.

William and Mary was led by the 14 kills of Kristen Gunderson. Carly Huffman had six blocks while all-tournament selection, Tara Tobias, had 10 kills.

'William and Mary has very good ball control and are a very smart team but we clicked into making sure they couldn't put the tips down,' Cougar Coach Cindy Fredrick said. 'When our offense started lighting up, we stopped them and kept them off balance with some very good serving.'

William and Mary took an 18-14 lead in the first game before WSU could counter with seven-to-one point run to take the lead at 21-19. William and Mary claimed the next two points after a lift call on Surplus and a block by Tobias. The Cougars and the Tribe battled evenly, with ties at every point until Surplus dumped two balls in the middle of the Tribe's court for a WSU 26-24 lead. Huffman's block of Schafer narrowed the deficit but the Canadian Cougar came back with a roll shot. After the Tribe's time out, Gunderson tagged a tip for the final point for the green and white-clad Tribe. Schafer slammed home a kill followed by LaToya Harris winning a blocking contest at the net against Tobias and Witt. Gunderson hit into the net to give WSU the 30-26 win. Schafer had five kills in game one.

The Cougars were up by six points in game two before William and Mary came back to close the gap to two, 21-19. The teams traded scores until Adrian Hankoff rocketed a kill and then served an ace to put WSU up 25-21. LaToya Harris's kill forced the Tribe to take a time out but that did not deter the Cougars. Schafer and Boyle combined to block Witt, Boyle pushed a ball to the corner and Schafer tipped into the left front corner. But William and Mary was not finished with game two. Kills from Gunderson and Tobias and an ace by Lesley Johnson gave the Tribe kept the Cougs from the final point three times. Sarah Gubler served into the net for the WSU 30-25 win. WSU hit .354 in the game with six kills each from Schafer and Hankoff.

WSU, playing with the two game momentum, overwhelmed the Tribe for the third game win. The Cougars scored the final six points of the 30-15 win, with all WSU players on the bench seeing action.

The all-tournament team was Leiana Oswald (UNLV), Rebeca Pazo (Rice), Tara Tobias (William and Mary), Stacy Woodson (William and Mary), Chelsie Schafer (WSU) and MVP LaToya Harris (WSU).

The NCAA Selection Show is Monday, Nov. 26, at noon.

Washington State (17-11)	30	30	30William & Mary (22-5)	26	25	15STATISTICS:KILLS - WMU 41 (Gunderson 14), WSU 60 (L. Harris 14).ASSISTS - WMU 39 (Gubler 32), WSU 55 (Surplus 46).DIGS - WMU 47 (Hinds 10), WSU 51 (Surplus 17).BLOCKS - WMU 7 (Huffman 6), WSU 8.5 (Boyle 6).SERVICE ACES - WMU 5 (Johnson 2), WSU 5 (L. Harris 2).Attendance - 328.
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