WHEELING - The Wheeling Jesuit volleyball team earned its second straight trip to the Elite Eight by knocking off California (Pa.) Saturday evening by a 3-1 score.
Set scores were 25-18, 25-16, 19-25, 25-16.
Allissa Ware powered home a match-high 20 kills for the Cardinals. Jenna Pew had a spectacular all-around match with 27 assists, nine kills and seven digs. Madison Strall amassed 23 assists and 13 digs. Ware picked up a double-double by adding 11 digs. Makenzie Ripley led the defensive attack with 26 digs while Corrin Early totaled 13. At the net, Ashley Remlinger assisted on five blocks. Pew and Strall were in on three blocks apiece.
Collectively, the Cardinals (38-2) registered 58 kills en route to a .288 attack percentage while limiting the Vulcans to a .199 attack percentage. WJU had 75 digs and totaled eight blocks. The Cardinals had four aces to just one by the No. 3 seed.
In the first set, the Cardinals struck early and often en route to a 7-1 lead. During the spurt, Ware had a kill, Remlinger had a pair and Early had an ace. WJU pushed the margin to nine at 14-5 on a kill from Early. Up 18-15, two offensive points and two miscues by California (Pa.) gave the Cardinals an insurmountable lead.
WJU trailed 6-5 in the second frame, but quickly got back into the lead after an error by the Vulcans and two kills by Early. The Cardinals continued to thrive, extending the lead to five on a Remlinger kill off a pass from Strall. With the score at 20-16, Pew's kill jump started a 5-0 run to secure the second set victory.
After dropping the third set, WJU started quickly and was ahead 4-0, forcing a time-out by the Vulcans. The Cardinals pushed the lead to 5-0 before California (Pa.) got on the board. The Vulcans pulled within three at 7-4, but WJU responded with a 7-3 run to take a 14-7 advantage. The Cardinals made it 20-10 after a service error by the Vulcans. WJU was never seriously challenged the rest of the match. Ware's kill made it 24-15 and the Cardinals secured the win on a California (Pa.) service error.
The Cardinals will square off against Tampa on Dec. 6 at 8:30 p.m. in the last national quarterfinal match of the day. The Elite Eight will be held in Pensacola, Fla.