Ole Miss loses its NCAA debut

Daily Journal reports

LOS ANGELES – A record season for the Ole Miss volleyball team came to an end late Thursday, as the Rebels lost to Southern Cal 3-0 (30-17, 30-24, 30-23) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

USC (26-4) is the fifth-overall seed in the tournament and ranked sixth in the nation. It was the first-ever NCAA Tournament berth for the Rebels (19-13).

Jaclyn Toohey led the Rebels with 14 kills as she hit .259 for the match. Freshmen Caitlin Keefe and Caitlin Weiss came in late in the match, helping the Rebels to a late rally as Weiss went hit .667 and put down two kills and Keefe notched a kill and four blocks in game three as part of an Ole Miss rally.

Tara Langley led the Rebel defense with 13 digs on the night, while Rachel Kieckhaefer and Allison Weber both added nine digs.

“It's a bittersweet ending to the best year of volleyball in Ole Miss history,” said Ole Miss coach Joe Getzin. “I can't say enough about the seniors on this team and the leadership they displayed this season. We have set a new standard for Ole Miss volleyball. It's not a standard I'm worried about, though, because we have a core group of underclassmen who are coming back and aren't satisfied with the end result we saw tonight.

“This is the proudest moment of my coaching career.”

Ole Miss fought off three match points in Game 3.

Four players reached double digits in kills for the winners, led by 15 from Asia Kaczor. Diane Copenhagen added 14 kills while Kelli Tennant and Jessica Gysin both added 10 kills.

Southern Cal advances today to play BYU (25-5), a 3-2 winner (27-30, 30-32, 30-27, 30-21, 15-12) against UC-Santa Barbara in an earlier match.

Seven SEC teams earned NCAA berths and the other two in action Thursday were winners. Florida defeated Florida A&M 3-0 and Kentucky beat Ohio 3-2..

In first-round games today, Tennessee (19-11) plays Duke (28-3) in Knoxville, Arkansas (16-12) is home against Missouri State (26-8); Alabama (17-12) plays Stephen F. Austin in Austin, Texas; and LSU (26-5) plays California (20-9) in San Luis Obispo, Calif.