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Tigers eliminated at CAA Tournament

Towson’s first Colonial Athletic Association Championship appearance since 2008 didn’t go as expected, with sixth-seeded Virginia Commonwealth beating the Tigers in the first match of the tournament 3-2.

Towson lost the first two sets, but was able to recover from a rough first set to force a fifth.

“Once you make it to the playoffs, there’s only one team that’s going to make it without a loss,” Head Coach Bruce Atkinson said. “We’re disappointed that we lost early, but at this point it is what it is, and we have to use that to gain experience for our next time around.”

The first set was one of the worst sets Towson has played this year. The team dug itself hole with a hitting percentage of -.107. One of the main reasons the hitting percentage was so low was because of constant lineup changes.

According to CAA Player of the Year Katy Buck, it was the second set that really killed the Tigers.

“We were mixing up the lineup a lot in the first set, and I know a couple people were confused with what was going on,” she said. “We just weren’t in the groove of things. And then in the second [set], we really should have come out just strong and bounced back.”

The third and fourth sets were much better, with Towson hitting .303 and .432, respectively. Buck was a key factor in the turnaround. In the third set, she recorded nine kills, no errors and hit .818. Buck finished the match with 17 kills, making it her 15th straight match with double-digit kills. Despite the team’s efforts, they weren’t able to clinch the win.

Sophomore setter Bibiany Fonseca was added to the lineup to compliment injured junior setter Aubrey Kirven, who played despite a severe back injury.

“We had to have [Fonseca] in a position opposite Aubrey in case she were to ever go out,” Atkinson said. “Bibiany’s been working with the team, and I think she could have done a great job if she had stepped in. Aubrey, to her credit, really dug deep. And she hasn’t practiced much in the last few days and has been getting tremendous amounts of therapy. She was in quite a bit of pain throughout the match.”

According to Atkinson, the biggest positive the team got out of this match was the experience.

“We need to learn from this, we need to take this experience in so that hopefully we’re back here next year and we can go farther along in the tournament,” he said.

With the season finally over, the Tigers plan to rest up, heal any injures they may have, and then get ready to come back for next season.

“I know everyone’s kind of banged up right now, so it’ll be nice to have the rest,” Buck said. “And then we pretty much come back in the spring and we have to raise our level of play to a whole other level, and I think we can do it.”

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