• 2019 Record: 34-3; 6-1 UAA
  • 2018 National Champions
  • 2008 National Champions
  • NCAA Final Four: 2019, 2018, 2014, 2013, 2010, 2008, 2003
  • 24 NCAA Tournament Appearances
  • 9 UAA Championships
  • 2019 NR: 1st

Emory Volleyball NCAA Championships Notes

Emory Volleyball NCAA Championships Notes


The Emory University volleyball team will be looking to bring home the program's second-ever national title when it ventures to Pittsburgh to compete in this weekend's (Nov. 15-17) NCAA Division III Championships.  The Eagles, 27-6 on the year, will square off against Ithaca College (21-7) of the Liberty League, quarterfinal-round action on Thursday starting at 5:30 p.m. Emory enters the weekend as the No. 3 seed in the eight-team field while the Bombers are seeded sixth. Ithaca knocked Emory out of the 2017 Championships when it posted a 3-1 decision in the quarterfinals.

This year's Championships will be played at the A.J. Palumbo Center on the Duquesne University campus, with a schedule of the matches as follows:

Thursday, Nov. 15
12:30 pm – Calvin College vs. Aurora University
3:00 pm – UW- Eau Claire vs. Babson College

5:30 pm – Emory vs. Ithaca College
8:00 pm – Juniata College vs. Wesleyan University (CT)

Friday, Nov. 16
5:00 pm – Calvin/Aurora winner vs. UW-Eau Claire/Babson winner
7:30 pm – Emory/Ithaca winner vs. Juniata/Wesleyan winner

Saturday, Nov. 17
7:00 pm – National Championship Match


** This year's appearance in the NCAA Tournament is the Emory volleyball program's 23rd consecutive and 24th overall appearance in the postseason.  Entering the quarterfinals, the Eagles have an all-time mark of 48-23 in the NCAA Tourney.

** Head Coach Jenny McDowell, now in her 23rd season directing fortunes of the program, has a school and career won-lost mark of 742-166.   Her record in the NCAA Tournament is 48-22.  McDowell has directed the program to 23 straight NCAA Tourney bids.  In addition, she has made five trips to the national semifinals won the 2008 championship.

** The Eagles moved into this weekend's action after claiming the Mount Berry Regional, sweeping Meredith College in the quarterfinals, No. 4-ranked Colorado College in the semifinals and No. 22 Mary Hardin-Baylor in the finals.  Senior setter Mady Arles was named the Regional's Most Outstanding Player while senior Sydney Leimbach and sophomore Leah Saunders were named to the all-tournament team.

** Emory earned an automatic bid to the NCAA D-III Tournament after winning the University Athletic Association title in Rochester, NY. The Eagles opened with a 3-0 triumph over Brandeis in the quarterfinals before registering a similar outcome against Carnegie Mellon in the semifinals.  In the title showdown, Emory prevailed over No. 10 Chicago by a 3-0 count.

** Emory enters this weekend with wins in 14 of its last 15 matches and an overall record of 27-6.  Those 14 wins have seen the Eagles come away with 3-0 results. Emory has swept 24 opponents this season.

** The Eagles have played one five-set match this year, coming out on the short of the 3-2 decision to Juniata (Sept. 14) at the East-West Challenge in Claremont, California.

** Emory starts play this weekend with a team attack percentage of .246, good for the No. 1 spot among UAA teams and 11th in the D-III ranks.  In addition, the Eagles are limiting the opposition to just a .146 hitting percentage, tops among league squads.

** The Eagles have outhit 26 opponents this year.  Ten of Emory's opponents have hit less than .100, with six of those foes finishing with negative percentages.

** Emory has recorded double figures in service aces in 10 matches this year, including season-high tying marks of 14 vs. Meredith College and Mary Hardin-Baylor this past weekend.  The Eagles have chalked up eight matches with 10 or more aces in their last 14 outings. Senior Becky Breuer doled out six aces against Mary Hardin-Baylor in the Mount Berry Regional final, the high-water mark by an Emory player this year.

** Emory leads the UAA and ranks seventh among all D-III programs in kills per set (13.69 kps).  The Eagles also hold down the top position in the league with an average of 2.04 blocks per set, good for the No. 27 spot on the national ladder.

** Senior setter Mady Arles (AVCA 1st Team All-American) runs the Emory offense with precision with her 10.7 assists per game, good for the No. 2 position in the league, 15th in Division III and tied for 13th on the program's seasonal ladder.  Arles, who has played in 106 of the team's 109 sets, has dished out 40 or more assists on 10 occasions during the year, including a 46-assists outing (tying her second-highest career total) in a 3-0 triumph over Mary Hardin-Baylor in the final of the NCAA Mount Berry Regional.  She was named MVP of the Mount Berry Regional after averaging 13.78 assists per set over the three matches.  Arles has dialed up a team-leading 43 service aces and stands eighth in the conference service-ace average (0.43 aps).  Career-wise, she ranks eighth on the school's all-time ladder with 2,125 assists and assists average (7.72 aps).

** Senior outside hitter Karissa Dzurik (dih-zer-ick) landed both AVCA Second Team All-America and First Team All-UAA acclaim, and checks into the Championships with a team-high 22 matches of double-figure kills to her credit including a 13-terminations performance vs. Mary Hardin-Baylor in the Mount Berry Regional final.  She tops the team with an average of 3.19 kills over 104 sets of play, placing her seventh on the conference chart.  Dzurik has been tabbed as UAA Player of the Week twice this year most recently following her effort in helping the Eagles to the league title where she topped all players with a 4.56 kills average over nine sets of play.

** Sophomore Leah Saunders (HM All-American) has enjoyed an outstanding year, which has seen her garner First Team All-UAA kudos while also being chosen as the league's Most Valuable Player.  She is second on the squad and 13th in in the league with an average of 2.71 kills per set.  Saunders also ranks among the conference's top 20 in digs average (2.42 dps) with nine matches of 10 or more to her credit.  She has produced 12 matches of double-figure kills including a team-high tying 11 in a sweep of No. 4-ranked Colorado College in the semifinals of the NCAA Mount Berry Regional.

** Junior libero Elyse Thompson (HM All-American) has spearheaded a strong Emory defense this season, pacing the team while standing fourth in the UAA with a 4.39 digs-per-set average.  The lone Eagle to have played in all 109 of the team's sets, she has compiled double-figure digs in 29 matches, including seven of 20 or more. Thompson was selected to the All-UAA Second Team this year … Career-wise, her 1,254 digs place her fifth on the school's all-time list. 

** Sophomore Finn Wilkins has given the Eagles a formidable presence at the net and leads the team with an average of 1.09 blocks per set, placing third among UAA players.  She has turned in 13 matches with three or more total blocks and is coming off a six-block (0-6) performance against Mary Hardin-Baylor in the Mount Berry Regional Final.  The 6-foot-2 Wilkins recorded a match-high seven (1-6) blocks in a 3-0 triumph over No. 10 Chicago, helping the Eagles to a 3-0 win in the title match of the UAA Championships.

** Senior Sydney Leimbach came through with a big effort at the Mount Berry Regional, earning all-tournament team honors after averaging a team-high 3.89 kills per set and hitting a blistering .564 (35-4—55) over the three matches.  She hit over .500 in all three contests including .591 against Mary Hardin-Baylor, finishing with a career-high tying 16 terminations (seventh double-figure effort of the year) with three errors in 22 swings. The 6-foot-2 Leimbach, a Second Team All-UAA honoree, ranks among the school's all-time top 20 performers in a number a categories including attack percentage (9th, .338), total blocks (16th, 261) and blocks per set (13th, 0.85 bps).

** Freshman Tara Martin has emerged during the second half of the season to give the Emory offense another dependable weapon.  Martin has a total of four matches of double-figure kills this season, three of which have come over the last four contests.  She led the team with 11 kills vs. Meredith College in the quarterfinals of the Mount Berry Regional before tying the squad honors with 11 termiantions against Colorado College in the semifinals.  She finished the Regional tied for second place on the team's score sheet with an average of 3.11 kills to go along with a .373 (28-6—59) attack percentage.  On the year, she has seen action in 20 matches, logging 52 sets of play, and is averaging 2.42 kills per game while hitting .271 (126-47—292).

The following are series records with Emory and the NCAA Championships field
Ithaca – 0-1
Juniata – 11-10 (Juniata won, 3-2, earlier this year (Sept. 14) at the East-West Challenge hosted by Claremont-Mudd Scripps
Wesleyan – 0-0
UW- Eau Claire – 0-0
Calvin – 1-4
Aurora – 0-0
Babson – 0-0

 --  The following is a list of honors that Emory players have received this season

AVCA All-Americans

Mady Arles - 1st Team
Karissa Dzurik - 2nd Team
Elyse Thompson – HM
Leah Saunders – HM

AVCA All-South Region
Mady Arles
Karissa Dzurik
Leah Saunders
Elyse Thompson

All-University Athletic Association

Leah Saunders -- 1st Team (MVP)
Mady Arles - 1st Team
Karissa Dzurik - 1st Team
Sydney Leimbach - 2nd Team
Elyse Thompson - 2nd Team

UAA Players of the Week

Mady Arles – Nov. 12
Sydney Leimbach – Nov. 12
Karissa Dzurik – Nov. 5
Finn Wilkins – Nov. 5
Karissa Dzurik – Oct. 15
Mady Arles – Oct. 15
Finn Wilkins – Sept. 10

Mount Berry Regional All-Tournament Team
Mady Arles – MVP
Leah Saunders
Sydney Leimbach

East-West Challenge All-Tournament Team
Mady Arles

Emory National Tournament All-Tournament Team
Karissa Dzurik – MVP
Mady Arles
Leah Saunders

Emory Classic All-Tournament Team
Morgan McKnight
Leah Saunders