West Virginia

Trio of Cardinals Earn Spot on MEC Volleyball Championship All-Tournament Series

CHARLESTON, W. Va. — Following Saturday night’s 2022 Mountain East Conference championship tournament, the MEC released its all-tournament team. The Wheeling University volleyball team captured its 10th MEC title in program history with a 3-1 win over Charleston and had three players on the All-Tournament Team. juniors Tylah Yeomans and Karl Niesen and seniors Allonda Watkins all earned a spot as some of the tournament’s top players.

The Cardinals’ journey through the MEC tournament wasn’t easy, as they faced some bitter rivals in all three games. The tournament began with a match against the number four in Glenville’s MEC South. The sappers fought all night, but Wheeling was able to repel their attack. All three sets were decided by nine points or fewer as the Cardinals clinched a 3-0 win to advance to the MEC semifinals. There, they faced West Liberty in a special edition of “The Battle for Wheeling,” living up to the rivalry. The Hilltoppers would win the first set 25-20, but Wheeling picked up three straight wins to win the match 3-1. In the MeC championship game, the Cardinals faced the team that gave them their only conference loss of the season in Charleston. The Golden Eagles won the first set, but Wheeling again won three straight sets to win their 10th MEC championship in program history.

Karl Niesen was the Cardinal’s offense leader throughout the tournament after earning MEC Player of the Year and an All-MEC First Team award during the season. In the three games during the tournament, Niesen finished with 133 assists and 26 digs as she helped on both offense and defense. All season, Niesen has helped the Cardinals surpass the .300 mark while leading the conference with a .295 batting average. In the three tournament games, this trend continued as the Cardinals hit .256, .249, and .312 in the three contests. Their best performance came in the championship game, where the Cardinals hit .312 on their way to their 10th MEC championship.

Allonda Watkins continued her great season and was one of the catalysts for the Cardinals offense throughout the tournament. In the three games, she finished with 47 kills and hit .487 or better in each match. She has made great strides on her way to 1,000 kills and is now competing in the NCAA Atlantic Regional tournament, which only needs 58 kills over the next few games to reach the mark. The 2022-23 season was the best of Watkins’ career as she earned her first All-MEC First Team honor of her career and set new career highs in kills and batting average. Watkins will continue to play a big part in the success of the Cardinals regional tournament as she tries to help get them back to the NCAA National tournament.

Rounding out the Cardinals’ MEC Championship All-Tournament team were juniors Tylah Yeomans. Yeomans led the Cardinals in kills in two of their three games during the tournament and finished the three games with 41 kills. She was consistent throughout the tournament, finishing the three games with kills of 14, 14, and 13. Her top kill totals came in the first two games when she recorded 14 kills against Glenville State and West Liberty for the Cardinals to bring to the 2022 MEC Championship game. She was the Cardinal’s kills leader during the regular season and brought her success to the tournament.

The rest of the MEC Championship All-Tournament Team looks like this:

Bryce Knapp – Fairmont State

Kristen Bugunavich – West Liberty

Pia Selke-Charleston

Maria Hernandez – Charleston

Tylah Yeomans – Roll

The Wheeling University volleyball team returns to action during the NCAA Atlantic Regional Tournament, taking place Nov. 17-19.

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