The Sonoma State University women’s volleyball team’s multiple award-winning season ended Thursday in Kentucky after a nail-biting, five set battle against Southwest Minnesota State in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Volleyball Championships.
The five-set match against Southwest Minnesota State Mustangs saw 15 ties and six lead changes in the opening set alone. The Seawolves won the first two sets in the best-of-five match and were poised to win the third set with a 19-14 lead until Minnesota scored seven unanswered points to win the set. Minnesota narrowly took the fourth set, taking the heated duel to a fifth and final set. However, the Seawolves were not going to go down without a fight. The team tied Minnesota early on in the fifth set with the help of two kills by Madelyn Densberger. Minnesota would ultimately go on to a 15-6 win and a 3-2 match victory.
Kelsey Hull led the wolf pack with 15 kills, a hitting percentage of .387, and her second double-double with 14 digs. Caylie Seitz had 13 kills and Densberger contributed 11 of her own.
The team earned the trip to Louisville, Ky. to continue their record-setting season after they shut out rival CSU San Bernardino and Dixie State in the second and third rounds of the NCAA Volleyball Championships played in Idaho in November.
“It was cool to beat San Bernardino in three,” said senior Hull. “Especially because historically, they have been the ones to knock us out of regionals.”
The Seawolf victory over San Bernardino ended the schools 14-year streak of reaching the West Region final. Earning the Seawolves the privilege of bringing home the 2014 California Collegiate Athletic Association Championship title as well as NCAA Division II West Region title for the first time in the program’s history.
The Seawolves ended the season with an overall record of 23-7, as well as multiple first-place statistics such as kills per set (14.44), hitting percentage (.263), service aces per set (1.72), and points per set (18.1).
Hull ended her five-year playing career at Sonoma State by becoming the CCAA Player of the Year, and was only one of two players in the nation to be named into the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American Team three times.
“I cannot express how grateful I am to have been able to be a part of such an amazing program over these past five years,” said Hull. “This experience went above and beyond my expectations and I couldn’t be happier. All that was going though my head during the last set of that last game was to just enjoy these last few points playing alongside my teammates.”
Hull’s journey at Sonoma State has come to an end but her career as a volleyball player is just beginning. She will travel to Europe in January to tryout for a professional team.
“I’m planning on going over there for two weeks,” said Hull. “I’ll enjoy the experience of trying out for different country’s teams, and if I make one, I’ll be playing over there for a while.”
Seitz also had an award-winning season. Seitz was the only conference player to earn first-team honors and is the only player in program history to be a two-time AVCA first-team selection.
“This tournament was one of the best experiences I’ve ever been a part of,” Hull said. “Every athlete dreams of going to college and being a part of something so rewarding. The dedication and family-like structure of the team is what got us so far this year and I couldn’t have gotten my awards without my teams support. There’s no going backward now, only forward to even better seasons.”
For more information on the team’s record-breaking season including photos, post-game interviews and a link to watch the final game of the season, visit their page on sonomaseawolves.com.