(WOLFVILLE, N.S.) - The last time the Memorial Sea-Hawks won an AUS women's volleyball championship was in 2000 and 16 years later they will have an opportunity to win their fourth conference title since the 1978-79 championship win.
The Sea-Hawks last made an appearance in the championship final game in 2001 when they lost 3-2 to the Moncton Aigles Bleus in Acadia's War Memorial Gymnasium.
The No. 2-seeded Sea-Hawks confidently eliminated the host Acadia Axewomen in three sets, but it wasn't a runaway win.
With the lead never growing more than four points in the opening set, the Sea-Hawks held on for the 26-24 win. Behind 13-12, Memorial's Braxton Fenter (Vacaville, California) tied the game at 13 with a kill.
The Sea-Hawks gained momentum and extended the lead to 18-14 before the Axewomen would close the gap to 18-19 on two Memorial attack errors combined with a Sarah Ross (Toronto, Ont.) kill and Kaitlyn Franklin (Naniamo, B.C.) service ace.
Neck and neck on the home stretch and tied at 24-24, the Sea-Hawks solidified the win with kills from AUS MVP Jill Snow (Bishop's Falls, N.L.) and Subway Player of the Game Maiya Westwood (East St. Paul, Man.).
A disheartened Acadia squad allowed the Sea-Hawks to take a commanding 15-3 lead in the second game. But encouragement from head coach Michelle Wood woke up the sleeping giant.
The Axewomen worked back to a 23-17 deficit before succumbing to an Acadia service error and kill by AUS rookie of the year, Kiersten Fey (Selkirk, Man.).
The pressure was on the Axewomen to win the third set. Tied at 17, kills by Lauryn Renzella (Stouffville, Ont.) and Fiona McGuinty (Ottawa, Ont.) gave the Axewomen a 19-17 lead, but it soon dissolved into a 22-22 tie.
A kill by Krista Hogan (Kippens, N.L.) followed by an Acadia attack error and bad set gave Memorial a 25-22 third set victory and a 3-0 match win.
McGuinty was named the Acadia Subway Player of the Game for her five-kill effort, while teammate Sarah Ross led the match with 13 kills. Setter Olivia Boudreault (Hammonds Plains, N.S.) was solid with 23 sets while senior Hillary Monette (New Minas, N.S.) was the defensive foundation for the Axewomen with 18 digs. The Axewomen posted a disappointing 11 service errors.
Memorial's Jill Snow and Kierstin Fey both posted 10 kills each. Maiya Westwood had 25 assists and 10 digs along with one service ace. The Sea-Hawks had a hitting efficiency of 0.212 compared to Acadia's 0.083.
The Sea-Hawks will take on the three-time defending AUS champion Dalhousie Tigers at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 28. The Tigers have beaten Memorial in both meetings this regular season.
Source: Acadia Sports Communications