Volleyball clinches second straight division title

Seniors Elizabeth Neisler, Alicia Roth, Lauren Hutchinson, Erika Devaughn, Lexi Bauer and Casey Garvey finished their Samford home careers this weekend. Photo courtesy of John Amis/Photographic Services

Clayton Hurdle  – Sports Editor |

Samford’s volleyball team won both its matches this weekend, clinching its second straight SoCon North Division title on Friday.

Friday’s “Dig Pink” match against Elon was a 3-1 victory for the Bulldogs, which secured a repeat division title for the reigning conference champions.

The title is the fourth North Division title Samford has won in its five years in the SoCon.

Sophomore journalism and mass communication major Michaela Reesor recorded her ninth double-double of the 2012 campaign.

She slammed home 22 kills and added 10 digs to lead the ‘Dogs.

Samford took the first set with a 25-20 win.

The Bulldogs took a 14-13 lead halfway through the second set.

It was not enough as Elon eventually pulled away with a 25-23 win.

Samford responded, taking another 25-20 win to go up 2-1.

The Bulldogs won the final set 25-18, securing the win and the division title.

“This honor is very exciting as we head into the conference tournament next weekend,” Reesor said.

The “Dig Pink” match raised money for the Side Out Foundation, which is an active partner in the fight against breast cancer.

“It was very encouraging to have the support of our fans for not only our game but more importantly for the support of breast cancer awareness,” Reesor said.

Photo courtesy of John Amis/Photographic Services

Samford continued the weekend on Sautrday with a senior night win against UNC-Greensboro.

Seniors Elizabeth Neisler, Lauren Hutchinson, Erika Devaughn, Casey Garvey, Lexi Bauer and Alicia Roth were honored as one of Samford’s most successful classes of all time.

Neisler is third on Samford’s all-time kills list.  Hutchinson has recorded 292 kills this season.

This is the second-best kills mark for the Bulldogs this year.

Garvey is the leader in assits for the Bulldogs, and is fourth all-time in the category with 3,552 assists in her career.

Bauer’s 528 digs this season has put her in first place all-time in Samford history.

Roth and Devaughn have provided the Bulldogs with solid relief throughout their Samford careers.

“I want people to look back on the legacy we left here at Samford as [head coach] Dex [Schroeder]’s first recruiting class and see us as the group of six girls that helped lead the team to potentially two conference titles,” Hutchinson said.

Samford took an early 1-0 lead after winning the first set 25-21.

The Bulldogs looked to sweep after a 25-17 win in set two gave them a 2-0 advantage over the Spartans.

Samford took momentum into the third set but UNCG pulled ahead to a 16-14 lead.

The Spartans never lost the lead and cut the match to 2-1 with a 25-22 win.

The fourth set was a 25-20 win for the Bulldogs.

Samford took advantage of poor UNCG ball handling in the final set to win on senior night.

“Saturday was an emotional night having to say goodbye to six girls who helped build this program to where it is today,” Reesor said.

“Our seniors established a foundation for the legacy of  Samford volleyball, and their contribution will not be overlooked.”

Hutchinson recorded 14 kills.

Garvey recorded her eighth double-double of the season with 58 assists and 16 digs.

The Southern Conference named Garvey its offensive player of the week for her effort.

Reesor led the team again with 21 kills and recorded 12 digs for her tenth double-double of the season.

The win on Saturday secured Samford’s second straight 20-win season.

It also ended an 11-1 home season for the Bulldogs (20-8, 12-2 SoCon).

Samford will finish the regular season with a two-game road trip to Western Carolina and Appalachian State on Nov. 10 and 11.

The Bulldogs then head to Davidson, N.C. for the SoCon tournament.

Earning the North Division title gives the Bulldogs one of the top two seeds in the upcoming tournament.

“It was awesome getting those two wins, securing our North Division championship to lead us into our last weekend of SoCon play before the tournament starts,” Hutchinson said.

Samford won last year’s SoCon title on its home court and the Bulldogs are looking to defend it on the road this year.

“We finally have the fight that we’ve been searching for since last year and it’s just in time for tournament play,” Hutchinson said.

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