James Madison crowned Sun Belt volleyball champions at Foley Event Center

Dukes claim regular-season, tournament titles during inaugural season in the league and earn bid to NCAA tournament

Staff Report
Posted 11/22/22

FOLEY – Sophie Davis charted 15 kills on .419 hitting with five blocks to lead James Madison to the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship in its first year in the league.

The Dukes, …

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James Madison crowned Sun Belt volleyball champions at Foley Event Center

Dukes claim regular-season, tournament titles during inaugural season in the league and earn bid to NCAA tournament

Posted

FOLEY – Sophie Davis charted 15 kills on .419 hitting with five blocks to lead James Madison to the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship in its first year in the league.

The Dukes, who also claimed the SBC regular-season title, defeated Texas State 3-1 (25-19, 22-25, 25-22, 25-21) in the championship match on Sunday at the Foley Event Center. It marked the third conference title awarded on Foley Sports Tourism properties.

James Madison (24-4) earns the Sun Belt’s automatic bid to the NCAA Volleyball Championship. The 2022 NCAA Volleyball Selection Show will take place Sunday, November 27 at 6:30 p.m. on ESPNU.

“What a magical year,” James Madison head coach Lauren Steinbrecher said. “I’m obsessed with our team. I just think they’re so good and fought through so much adversity. It just shows how deep we are. So many people played this weekend and even the ones who didn’t are exceptional players. It’s been a fun season.”

Davis, who was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Performer, averaged a tournament-leading 5.17 points per set while in Foley with 3.75 kills per set on .471 hitting with 1.67 blocks per set.

Her teammate, Caroline Dozier, the team’s starting setter who was injured early in the first set in Saturday’s semifinal and missed the remainder of the match, also earned All-Tournament Team accolades. In her return on Sunday, Dozier dished out 42 assists, came up with six digs and was part of two blocks.

“Sophie – where do I start?” Steinbrecher said. “First of all, she’s just so good at volleyball. In my heart, she’s our player of the year. I just think she’s incredible on the offensive and the defensive sides. Especially last night, just willing her team to win. Without Caroline, she just had a huge performance last night and again today.”

Miëtte Veldman turned in a match-high 18 kills, 16 digs and two block solos to power the offensive attack. Bre Reid added 16 kills on .311 hitting with a pair of blocks. Libero Jaydyn Clemmer posted 16 digs and two service aces.

James Madison out-blocked Texas State, 10-4. As a team, the Dukes hit .314 for the match, while the Bobcats hit .273. Texas State held the edge in digs, 74-62.

Texas State (24-7), led by its impressive class of talented fifth-year seniors, placed three players in double-figure kills. Janell Fitzgerald totaled a team-best 15 kills to complement eight digs. Jada Gardner recorded 12 kills, while Caitlan Buettner notched 11 kills on .550 hitting with 11 digs.

Emily DeWalt, the two-time Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and five-time Sun Belt Setter of the Year, finished with a match-high 48 assists and a match-high 18 digs. DeWalt is the Sun Belt Conference’s all-time career leader in assists.

2022 Sun Belt Volleyball All-Tournament Team

Hannah Maddux, South Alabama

Tori Hester, Troy

Caitlan Buettner, Texas State

Janell Fitzgerald, Texas State

Caroline Dozier, James Madison

Most Outstanding Player: Sophie Davis, James Madison

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