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Volleyball: Northwestern wins Cavalier Classic, starts season 3-0

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Volleyball: Northwestern wins Cavalier Classic, starts season 3-0

Symone Abbott readies to spike the ball. The junior helped lead a strong Northwestern offense over the weekend as the Wildcats dropped a single set over three games.

Symone Abbott readies to spike the ball. The junior helped lead a strong Northwestern offense over the weekend as the Wildcats dropped a single set over three games.

Daily file photo by Daniel Tian

Symone Abbott readies to spike the ball. The junior helped lead a strong Northwestern offense over the weekend as the Wildcats dropped a single set over three games.

Daily file photo by Daniel Tian

Daily file photo by Daniel Tian

Symone Abbott readies to spike the ball. The junior helped lead a strong Northwestern offense over the weekend as the Wildcats dropped a single set over three games.

Robbie Markus, Reporter

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Northwestern kicked off its season with three promising wins this weekend, taking the Cavalier Classic Championship on Saturday night to start the season undefeated.

The Wildcats (3-0) dominated all weekend at the tournament in Charlottesville, Virginia, only dropping one set in their three victories over George Washington (1-2), Buffalo (0-3) and Virginia (2-1).

The weekend also marked the beginning of coach Shane Davis’ career at NU. After guiding the Loyola Chicago men’s volleyball team to back-to-back national championships in 2014 and 2015, Davis was hired to lead the Cats.

In its first win of the season Friday against George Washington, NU came out firing with a strong, balanced offensive attack. Juniors Symone Abbott and Gabrielle Hazen and senior Kayla Morin combined for 39 kills, with Abbott leading the way with 22. Junior Taylor Tashima also served as an integral part of the offense, serving up 40 assists throughout the match.

The Cats won the match 3-0 with a third set score of 25-20, the closest set of the entire match. NU was consistent throughout the match, as its hitting percentage for every set was between .476 and .500.

The Cats carried this high level of play into their first match on the next day, as they swept Buffalo 3-0 in a fantastic outing. While the offense continued to thrive, NU’s defense truly showed its might against the Bulls. Buffalo recorded a .000 hitting percentage in the first set of the match, and they ended the match with a .108 percentage.

Abbott again spearheaded the offensive attack for NU, tallying 14 kills, three aces and a .700 hitting percentage. Tashima also contributed in a big way, notching 33 assists, three kills and five digs.

After taking out the Bulls, NU focused in on a match against then-undefeated Virginia on the Cavaliers’ home court Saturday night.

NU struck first for the third match in a row, taking the first set 25-17. However, Virginia responded well, and it grabbed the second set back 25-19, evening the match 1-1. In the third set, the Cats found themselves locked in a fierce 20-19 battle, but they stormed ahead to take the set 25-19. In the fourth and final set, NU held the Cavaliers to a match-low .000 hitting percentage, winning the Cavalier Classic 3-1.

Abbott, Hazen and Morin all recorded double-digit kills, as the Cats outscored Virginia in kills 61-36. In addition, Tashima again worked as the focal point of the Cats’ offense, recording 49 assists for the Cats.

NU takes its undefeated record into the Dayton Invitational next weekend, where it will face Tennessee-Chattanooga, Dayton and Xavier.

Email: robinsonmarkus2019@u.northwestern.edu

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