#5 CNU Overpowers #8 Eastern in Exciting 3-2 Victory; Advance to NCAA Sweet 16

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The Captains of Christopher Newport University advance to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the second time in program history as they defeated the Eastern University Eagles 3-2. The Captains will face Randolph-Macon College tomorrow at 2:00pm in the final match of the Newport News, Va. NCAA Regional.

The Eagles jumped out to a 6-1 lead over the Captains in the first set but the Captains were able to pull within one at 7-8 and eventually tied the match with four straight points at 16-16. The two teams swapped points tying the game seven more times before a kill by Caitlyn Jansen (Lorton, Va.) sealed the victory for the Captains 29-27.

The Eagles took the early lead in the second set as well getting up 9-5 before the Captains came back to tie the score at 9-9. Points went back and forth with the Eagles pulling away by as much as three before CNU took the lead at 22-21 with a kill from Jessie Heavenrich (Cambria, Calif.). After an Eastern timeout the Eagles scored four straight with a kill from Courtney Reinhold (Adamstown, Pa.) ending the set and tying the match at one win apiece.

The first few points went back and forth in the third set with Eagles not pulling away until the end of the set with two three-point runs giving them the 25-20 win.

The Captains and Eagles battled for every point in fourth set with the Eagles getting up by four with the score 10-6. The Captains called a timeout and won the next three points pulling to within one before Eastern called a timeout. Eastern was able to get up by five but the Captains inched back to tie the set at 19-19. With the score 23-22 in favor of the Captains freshman Lindsay Stephens (Lorton, Va.) stepped up to serve for the Captains and a kill by Elder brought the Captains to within one point of tying the match. The next point went to the Eagles with a kill from Maria Horning (Denver, Pa.) but another kill by Elder ended the set and tied the match for the Captains.

The Captains took a 3-1 lead but the Eagles quickly tied the score at three apiece. The Captains stayed composed and regained the lead scoring two quick points on a service error by the Eagles and a kill by Chelsea McClure (Montclair, Va.). The Eagles came back to tie the score at five on a service error by the Captains and then a kill by Kearby Benak (Houston, Texas). But after another Eagles service error the Captains went ahead and maintained the lead for the rest of the set winning 15-9.

The Captains improve to 37-2 on the year with one of their losses coming from Eastern during a match in October in St. David’s, Pa.

Jansen led the Captains with 21 kills and 10 blocks, both career-high performances. Heavenrich had a career-high 58 assists while adding 14 digs. Abby Hogge (Clifton, Va.) had a career-high 32 digs for the Captains. Bailey Jensen (Ashburn, Va.) and Kara Elder (Charlottesville, Va.) both set career records with eight blocks in the match. The 36 block assists tonight broke the current team record of 23 in a match set in 1984.

The Eagles were led by Reinhold with 29 kills followed by Benak and Horning with 12 each. Horning also led in assists with 51. Madison Goldbach (Redondo Beach, Calif.) service aces while Kelly Groff (Audubon, Pa.) led with 33 digs. Reinhold put up four blocks for the Eagles with one being a solo block.

SET SCORES    1      2       3      4       5
CNU                   29    22    20    25    15
EU                      27    25    25    23     9

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