FOLEY, Ala. – Two epic five-set thrillers on Saturday, both boasting unlikely comebacks, determined the contestants in the championship game of the 2022 Sun Belt Conference Volleyball Tournament.
James Madison and Texas State, top seeds in the Sun Belt East and West divisions respectively, meet Sunday at 1pm CT at the Foley Events Center in the title tournament. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.
Both teams found themselves in the game at critical times before both fought back to redeem their championship game tickets.
Tickets for Sunday’s final can be purchased online in advance through the Foley Sports Tourism Box Office. Tickets are sold daily and cost $10 per day for adults and $5 per day for children under 12. Students at Sun Belt Conference facilities are admitted free with a valid student ID.
Match 11: (1E) James Madison 3, (2W) Troy 2 (Box Score)
Sun Belt’s 2022 Defensive Player of the Year James Madison’s Sophie Davis put on a stellar performance of 20 kills on .528 with 10 match-high blocks to lead the Dukes to a 3-2 (22-25, 25-). 22, 26-24, 18-25, 15-12) defeated Troy in the Sun Belt semifinals.
The two teams shared the first two sets of the game. The Dukes (23-4) trailed for most of the third frame, trailing 23-21 before scoring five of the next six points to earn a 26-24 win. Troy won the fourth set and leveled the fifth set by 12 points before James Madison scored the final three points of the game for the win.
For James Madison, Miëtte Veldman added 13 kills, nine digs and two service aces. Libero Jaydyn Clemmer recorded 17 digs and setter Hannah Roberts recorded 36 assists and five blocks.
Troy (18-12) was led by freshman Amiah Butler with 22 kills, five digs and two blocks. Tori Hester had 18 total kills and a match high of 18 digs, while Julia Brooks had 12 kills and eight blocks.
The two teams combined for 28 team blocks, with James Madison registering 18 denials.
Game 12: (1W) Texas State 3, (3W) South Alabama 2 (Box Score)
Texas State senior Janell Fitzgerald, the 2022 Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year, blew up for 25 kills on .365 hits and 21 digs to propel the Bobcats to a 3-2 (15-25, 25-19, 25-25). -19, 23) to conduct -25, 16-14) to win against South Alabama in the Sun Belt semifinals.
Texas State (24-6) dropped the opening set before winning the next two frames by identical 25-19 scores. After the Bobcats led most of the fourth set, South Alabama broke a 22-all tie with three straight points to win the stanza. After Texas State trailed 14-12 in the deciding fifth set, the Bobcats rallied for a 14-14 equalizer. Fittingly, Fitzgerald’s three consecutive kills sealed the win.
Jada Gardner also recorded a double-double with 19 kills on .318 with 16 digs, while Tessa Marshall hit a match-high with six blocks. Emily DeWalt, the 2022 Sun Belt Player of the Year and the Sun Belt’s all-time career assists leader, dished out 58 assists and hit 11 digs.
Texas State beat South Alabama 11-6, and the Bobcats had 84 to the Jaguars’ 70.
Hannah Maddux and Maddie Soboleski each had 19 kills to lead South Alabama (18-13). Rachel Hickey, the 2022 Sun Belt Libero of the Year, hit a match high with 23 hits. Setter Kailey Keeble dished out 52 assists and had 16 digs.
2022 Sun Belt Volleyball Tournament Schedule and Results
16.-20.11.2022 | Foley, Ala. | Foley Sports Tourism Complex
First round – Wednesday 16th November
Game 1 – (6W) Arkansas State 3, (7E) Georgia State 0
Match 2 – (6E) Marshall 3, (7W) ULM 2
Second round – Thursday 17th November
Match 3 – (6W) Arkansas State 3, (3E) Old Dominion 2
Match 4 – (5E) Georgia Southern 3, (4W) Southern Miss 1
Match 5 – (3W) South Alabama 3, (6E) Marshall 1
Match 6 – (5W) Louisiana 3, (4E) App State 2
Quarterfinals – Friday 18 November
Match 7 – (2W) Troy 3, (6W) Arkansas State 2
Match 8 – (1E) James Madison 3, (5E) Georgia Southern 0
Match 9 – (3W) South Alabama 3, (2E) Coastal Carolina 0
Game 10 – (1W) Texas State 3, (5W) Louisiana 1
Semifinals – Saturday 19th November
Match 11 – (1E) James Madison 3, (2W) Troy 2
Match 12 – (1W) Texas State 3, (3W) South Alabama 2
Championship – Sunday 20th November
Game 13 – 1:00 PM CT – (1E) James Madison vs. (1W) Texas State [ESPN+]