Jackets Roll to DC Invite Championship, Nicely Named MVP
DEFIANCE, Ohio – Defiance College stormed past Olivet and Albion on Saturday to clinch the 2008 DC Invitational Championship. It was the second tournament championship in as many weekends for the Yellow Jackets.
Defiance utilized more strong play at the net to win the eight-team, two-day invitational and posted a stout .293 hitting percentage as a team on Saturday. Kristen Nicely, Danyel Lipps and Marlea Rolander fueled the precision attack, as the trio combined for 69 kills in 140 attempts and a sizzling .407 clip.
The Jackets also logged 20 more total blocks in the two matches on Saturday, while the opposition managed only seven. For the weekend, Defiance collected 2.47 blocks per set and 42 total in the four matches. Nicely led the way with 17, Rolander added 14 and Lauren Aldridge had 10.
The weekend proved to be a coming out party for Nicely, as the rookie right-side hitter hit .346 to go with 4.06 kills and 1.00 total blocks per set in her first action on the home court. The Ayersville High product ended the DC Invitational with 69 kills, 17 blocks and 23 digs and was named the DC Invitational Most Valuable Player.
Nicely was not the only Yellow Jacket to be honored, as Heather Bradshaw scooped up 4.47 digs per set en route to tallying 76 over the weekend and earning Best-Defensive-Player honors.
Lipps posted a .343 hitting percentage and ended with 62 kills, 48 digs and seven blocks, while joining Nicely and Bradshaw on the Scotty’s Club 111 All-Tournament Team.
Defiance opened play on Saturday with the top spot in their respective pool up for grabs. The Jackets responded to the pressure and made quick work of Olivet to advance to the championship match.
DC bested the Comets in kills, hitting percentage, assists, digs and blocks and cruised to the 25-15, 25-17, 25-21 victory. Nicely led the way with 14 kills in 28 swings, while Bradshaw added 16 digs.
The Jackets were met in the championship round by a talented squad from Albion. The Britons split the first two sets with DC and held a 10-3 lead in the third before Defiance found its stride and closed the match by outscoring AC by a 47-28 clip to seal the 25-23, 18-25, 25-19, 25-19 win.
Nicely led the attack once again for Defiance with 22 kills and three blocks and Lipps complimented that performance with a 14-kill, 15-dig effort of her own. Bradshaw also recorded 15 digs and Sara Porter had 12. Julie Brunsman also played well and ended the match with 28 assists, six digs, three solo blocks and two kills.
Defiance moves to 8-5 with the two wins on Saturday and has now posted wins in seven of its last nine contests, including championship runs in the Ohio Wesleyan and DC Invitationals.
DC will look to stay hot when it plays a pair of matches at Hiram on Friday, Sep. 19. The Jackets will play Wooster at 6:30 pm in a neutral court showdown before squaring off with Hiram at 8:30 pm.