Elizabeth City State Win 2022 CIAA Volleyball Championship

SALEM, VA – In an epic rubber match set at the biggest stage, the 2022 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Volleyball Championship Game, No. 2 seed Elizabeth City State University bested the top-ranked Shaw University, 3-1 (25-22, 26-24, 17-25), to seize the conference crown Saturday evening at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, VA.

The Vikings, who advanced to 26-8 overall, won their first conference title since 2008, which was also the last time that Elizabeth City State had made an appearance in the conference championship game. The 23-8 overall Bears were making their first seventh consecutive appearance in the CIAA championship match but still seeking its first championship since 2018.

The first set featured 14 ties and eight lead changes. Back-to-back kills from Shaw’s Mallory Brown (CIAA All-Tournament Team selection) and Kamille Patrick cut the Bears’ deficit to 23-22 but the Vikings’ Elizabeth Kellum, who was named CIAA All-Tournament Team Most Valuable Player, earned consecutive kills to win the set for ECSU. In the second set, which the Vikings won 26-24, Shaw held an early 11-6 lead and a 20-17 lead. Two straight ECSU kills from Victoria White gave the Vikings a 21-20 lead but later in the set, the Bears actually achieved set point with a Noelani Beard and a 24-23 advantage. Two attack errors shifted that advantage to the Vikings, who brought the set home with a Kellum kill.

With the championship only a set win away, Elizabeth City State went to work quickly, jumping out to a 13-4 lead that ballooned to a 20-10 edge. Clarke Blakemore delivered match point with a kill and Victoria White’s kill officially brought the championship home to Elizabeth City. Shaw closed out the third set strong to avoid a sweep. Leading 17-15, the Bears went on a 7-0 run for set point before Noelani Beard delivered with a kill three points later.

Kellum won MVP honors after leading the team with 17 assists and adding 13 digs and 11 kills in the Finals. In the three tournament games combined, Kellum tallied 34 kills, 60 assists, 33 digs, 10 total blocks, and eight service aces.

Jada Rouse, a CIAA All-Tournament Team selection, led ECSU with 13 kills and White had 10. Kayleigh Sullivan had 17 assists for the Vikings and Naijya Leggett had a team-high 14 digs. For Shaw, Beard and Brown each finished with a team-high 14 kills, followed by Patrick’s 12. The Bears’ Ilani Myers had a game-high 16 digs. Breelyn Clark dropped a game-high 43 assists, which also earned her placement on the CIAA All-Tournament Team.

Elizabeth City State receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Tournament, which will start November 16 at the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse on the campus of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. The Vikings will learn their opponent and seed when the 64-team field is announced during the NCAA Division II Selection Show, which is set to air Sunday, Nov. 13 at 10:30 p.m. ET.

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