The No. 7 seed Ithaca Bombers defeated the No. 2 seed Emory University Eagles 3–1 in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Division III Volleyball tournament on Nov. 16.
The first set went as planned for the heavily–favored Eagles. The Eagles jumped out to an early 13–3 lead over the South Hill squad and never looked back, winning the set 25–13. Emory has been dominate in the tournament up to this point, as they have won 10 straight sets.
For the Blue and Gold, this is the farthest they have reached since the 1999 season when they lost to Trinity University 3–0 in the quarterfinals. To start the second set, the Bombers went point for point with the Eagles until the score of 9–9. They then went on an 8–2 run and would go on to win 25-17.
The Bombers captured the momentum in the match and carried it over to the third set, racing out to an 18–14 lead. Facing adversity, Emory fought their way back into the set and captured a 24–23 lead, needing only one more point to secure the set. Junior middle hitter Amanda Cerruti was determined for that to not be the case, and a powerful spike into the hardwood tied the set. After two errors by the Eagles, the Bombers took the set.
Needing to win the fourth set to keep the match going, the Eagles came out on the wrong foot, falling behind 15–9. But seeming to follow the same script as the third set, Emory fought their way back into the match with the help of a few Bomber errors and took another 24–23 lead. It was an Emory service error that would allow the Blue and Gold back into the set. The Eagles would then go up 25-26. With a chance to win, the Eagles suffered from two errors and a kill by senior outside hitter Caroline Gerulskis would send the Bombers to the semifinals of the NCAA tournament.
The Bombers offense was lead by Cerruti and freshman outside hitter Regan Stone with 13 kills each. Senior outside hitters Joelle Goldstein and Gerulskis both chipped in 11 kills. Sophomore setter Caitlyn Floyd paced the offense with 53 assists. Junior libero Tara Stilwell and Goldstein led the defensive effort with 15 digs each.
The Bombers will face off against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at 5 p.m. on Nov. 17 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.