Dons Sweep Toreros and Top Gaels in WCC Opener

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Dons volleyball finished their first week of conference play with two wins, defeating the University of San Diego last Thursday and St. Maryʼs College on Saturday.
The Dons made a huge statement in their first conference match by sweeping
the undefeated No. 16 Toreros 25-18, 25-21, 25-20. Sophomore middle blocker Malina Terrell consistently found holes in the Torero defense, totaling 11 kills and finishing with an astounding .444 kill percentage. Freshman opposite hitter Vendula Strakova had a strong day offensively as well, totaling 13 kills. “We really came to play,” Terrell said. “Everybody had timely kills,” Doron added. “Weʼre going to be a tough team to beat.”
The Dons have won 10 out of their last 12 games. They pulled together everything they’d gained from the preseason to find just the right formula to beat the defending conference champions.
“We knew it was not going to be easy,” head coach Gilad Doron said.
Even so, the Dons played with ease and confidence, while USD made communication errors and often seemed flustered. Sophomore setter Joan Caloiario was key to keeping the Dons offense smooth, finishing with 34 assists and 10 digs. “Iʼm excited, I think we can win conference, because of that win right there,” Terrell said.
The Dons continued on the path toward a WCC title with their win against St. Maryʼs on Saturday. The Gaels were defeated in four sets, losing 28-26, 25-21, 22-25, 25-21 at Mckeon Pavilion.
The Dons were forced to rally back hard to keep the game from going to a fifth set after getting down 17-13 in the fourth. They outscored St. Maryʼs 12-4 to pull off the win. “If we stay hungry and we stay motivated…we’re just going to get better” Doron said.
Strakova had another phenomenal game, snatching a double-double with the team lead 19 kills and 13 digs. Coloiario looked very strong again as well, totaling 52 assists and an impressive 18 digs, while freshman libero Rebecca Kopilovitch had a team-high 26 digs.
These two wins are a very promising start for the Dons, who are looking to
improve on their poor conference performance of last year. “Coming from a tough season last year, we were just like, you know weʼve had enough. We want to start completely over, start something new,” Terrell said. “I love being here, and I wanted to be a part of something like this – a part of making history.”
The Dons play at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington this Thursday, Sept. 29 and at the University of Portland on Saturday, Oct. 1.
Their next home game is Saturday, Oct. 8 against bay area rivals Santa Clara University.

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