DOVER — For the first time in its history, the Delaware State women’s volleyball team is headed to the NCAA Division I tournament.
The third-seeded Hornets earned the NCAA berth with a 3-1 victory over top-seeded Coppin State in the MEAC championship match played in a raucous Memorial Hall before a live ESPNU audience on Sunday evening.
Delaware State downed the Eagles by scores of 25-11, 19-25, 25-15, 25-16 to win the program’s first MEAC title since 1986.
The Hornets (24-6) will find out their NCAA opponent when the NCAA Selection Show airs next Sunday at 7:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
The Hornets’ Alondra Maldonado, who was named the tournament’s Outstanding Performer, led the way with 15 kills and four block assists, hitting .500 after committing just three errors in 24 swings. Valeria Otero was also in double figures with 14 kills and 12 digs.
Malgorzata Andersohn had 27 of the Hornets’ 47 assists, while Jasmal Cruz led the defense with 17 digs.
Delaware State hit .250 for the match, while holding Coppin State to just .054 hitting. The Hornets dominated at the net, racking up 11 blocks to Coppin State’s four.
With the first set in a 9-9 tie, Delaware State ended the set on a 16-2 run.
After taking the second set, Coppin opened the third set on a 5-1 run before Delaware State scored the next six points to take a 7-5 lead on a kill from Karen Cordero. The Hornets closed the third set by scoring six of the last seven points, winning 25-15 on a Danielle Allen kill.
In the fourth set, an 11-2 run put Delaware State in control, 21-12. When Lewis hit the final kill, the Hornets took the set and the match and trigger an on-court celebration between players and fans.
Dr. Bruce Atkinson of Delaware State was named the tournament’s Outstanding Coach. Lewis, Maldonado and Otero were named to the All-Tournament team.