WASHINGTON - For the first time since 2011 the host Bison from Gallaudet University celebrated the Worthington Classic tournament championship in the Field House. Gallaudet ran through the two-day women's volleyball tournament with a perfect 4-0 record.
Gallaudet (11-9) faced a tall task on Saturday as it had to go up against Kean University (15-5) and Montclair State University (8-8). Kean defeated DeSales University (13-5) in five sets on Friday night. If Gallaudet was going to claim its first Worthington Classic championship in six years they had to defeat the Cougars. The first two sets were tight before Gallaudet dispatched Kean with a straight win, 25-22, 25-20, 25-11. The victory snapped Kean's 11-game winning streak. Three different Bison had 10 or more kills in the victory led by senior outside hitter Darriyan Thomas (Vallejo, Calif.), who tallied 12 kills, 12 digs and four service aces. Sophomore outside hitter Adele Daniels (Austin, Texas) added 11 kills while senior middle hitter Giuletta Maucere (Valley Village, Calif.) had 10 kills.
The Bison went the distance against Montclair State as Gallaudet had to rally from down 2-1 to win 3-2 (25-23, 23-25, 20-25, 25-22, 15-10). The evenly matched teams traded the first two sets by identical 25-23 scores before the Red Hawks took the 2-1 lead with a third set win. GU relied on its service game and strong defense at the net in the fourth set. Thomas had two of her five service aces in the fourth set while junior libero Raelyn Fuechtmann (South St. Paul, Minn.) added two aces. Junior middle hitter Shua Clay (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) tallied three of her career-high eight kills in the fourth set. Clay was a force upfront as she made four blocks (one solo). Freshman Karita Lewis (Frederick, Md.) ended the marathon match with a kill to give GU a 15-10 win in the fifth set.
Thomas was named the tournament Most Valuable Player. She led the team with 19 kills and 21 digs against Montclair. Daniels was GU's other selection to the all-tournament team as recorded 13 kills, eight digs and four aces against the Red Hawks.
- Senior setter Jasmine Jeter (Noblesville, Ind.) had 79 assists on Saturday
- GU served up 20 aces against Montclair
- Thomas has 11 double-doubles this season
- Maucere has 10 or more kills in four matches this season
- GU has won the Worthington Classic five times (2006, '07, '09, '11, '17)
- The Bison are 34-10 all-time in the Worthington Classic
- Thomas is the first Worthington Classic MVP from Gallaudet since Ann Whited (2011)
GU will have a few days to rest up before jumping back into conference play on Wednesday night at Penn St.-Berks (6-9, 3-1 NEAC) at 7 p.m.