Volleyball Brings Home Division II Title

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan -- For the second time in school history, Barry University was crowned the NCAA Division II National Champions after trouncing the South Dakota State Jackrabbits 3-0 in the final match and ending the 2001 season with a 21-game win streak.

It was apparent from the opening serve which team was "pumped up" as the Buccaneers jumped out to an early 17-9 lead over the Jackrabbits. That deficit was too much to match as the Bucs overpowered the "Jacks" for the win in game one 30-19.

There was a slight change in game two with the Jackrabbits jumping out first and taking a 10-6 lead over the Bucs. But that was to be their only lead of the entire match. After a strategic timeout by head coach Dave Nichols, the Bucs went on a 13-2 scoring run to regain the lead and held on to capture game two 30-21.

Game three was a little tighter with the teams trading points, but the Buccaneers finally overpowered the Jackrabbits for the shutout by winning the final game of the match 30-25 for the championship.

"I have to say their coach did a fantastic job of coaching," Nichols said. "They were an extremely worthy opponent, but I just think we played better than we have all season and it paid off."

The Buccanners' "Brazillian Quartet" which included Karla Bersano, Fernanda Ferreira, Daniela Lanza, and Simone Ferrarezi, were all named to the All-Tournament team.

For the match, the Bucs were paced by their late season bloomer, Ferrarezi who tallied a match-high 21 kills on the night and a .500 attack percentage while also recording a team-high 15 digs.

Nipping at her hills was Bersano who registered 18 kills and a .317 attack percentage. Lanza served up 37 assists while teammate Ferreira dominated the net registering a team-high seven total blocks.

"It is so great to win the championship especially for us because we are from a different country away from our families," said Brazilian native Bersano. "Coach has given us support and made us feel like we have family here and that is special to us."

Despite having that family atmosphere, the Buccaneers completely dominated the match. For the third consecutive time, they tallied a .323 attack percentage to the Jackrabbits .083 thanks to the improved setting of Lanza.

"I have only been a setter for two months, but I have to give credit for my improvement to my teammates because we did it as a team," Lanza said.

The Bucs held the AVCA Player of the Year, Shauna Sturm, the Jackrabbits' top player to only 11 kills on the night. She was the only SDSU player to register double-digit kills.

The Buccaneers ended their season with an overall record of 32-2, dubbed the NCAA Division II National Champions for the second time in school history...a great ending to a near perfect season!

Oh oh ....

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