CAA Women's Volleyball

Delaware Defeats Towson In 4 Sets for Program's Fifth CAA Volleyball Title

Delaware Defeats Towson In 4 Sets for Program's Fifth CAA Volleyball Title

Delaware Volleyball defeated top-seeded Towson 3-1 on Saturday night to claim its fifth CAA Volleyball title in program history and the first since 2011.

Nov 19, 2023 by Leanza Pieroni
Delaware Defeats Towson In 4 Sets for Program's Fifth CAA Volleyball Title

The Blue Hens are back on top as the 2023 CAA Volleyball Champions!

Second-seeded Delaware defeated top-seeded Towson 3-1 (25-22, 22-25, 25-23, 25-17) on Saturday night at TU Arena on the campus of Towson University to claim its fifth CAA Volleyball title in program history and the first since 2011. 

The Blue Hens won their 15th consecutive contest, improving to 24-4 this year, and avenged last season’s defeat to the Tigers in the title match. Towson falls to 24-6 with the setback after reaching its fifth consecutive CAA Championship match. 

Lani Mason recorded her second straight double-double to lead the Blue Hens to victory and was named the CAA Championship Most Outstanding Player. Mason tallied 20 kills and 10 digs in the title match. She averaged 4.63 kills and 2.63 digs per set throughout the tournament. 

Her teammates Ezgi Basaranlar and Madelyn Grunza joined Mason on the all-tournament team. Basaranlar averaged 11.38 assists per set during the weekend, tallying 43 assists with six digs and four kills in the final. Grunza reached double-digit kills in both contests for the Blue Hens, including 14 on Saturday. 

Nina Cajic earned her fourth career CAA All-Tournament honor for the Tigers, with Irbe Lazda accompanying her on the squad. Lazda had a team-high 19 kills, swinging .429 in the final, while Cajic added 18 kills on a .320 hitting percentage. 

The first set was a back-and-forth affair as the CAA heavyweights traded blows to 17-17, with each team collecting a 3-0 run to that point. The Blue Hens proceeded with a rally of three consecutive points, sparked by a Savannah Seemans kill, which proved to be the difference in the opening frame. Delaware went on to win the set 25-22. The Blue Hens hit .319 in the frame, with Mason tallying seven kills, while the Tigers were almost equally impressive, swinging .304 behind seven kills from Lazda. 

Set two was just as competitive; however, Towson scored the final three points in the frame to earn a 25-22 victory and even the match at one set apiece. Facing an 8-7 deficit, the Tigers rallied off three straight points to gain control at 10-8. After pushing the lead to 15-11, the Blue Hens went on a run of their own, scoring five in a row to regain a 16-15. Towson responded with a 3-0 spurt, but Delaware hung tough, tying to set at 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22 before the final TU push. Cajic came alive in the second, recording six kills and helping the Tigers to a .400 hitting percentage. Delaware continued to swing well, posting a .323 hitting percentage in the frame.

Delaware came storming back in the third set, tallying eight of the final 10 points to earn a 25-23 victory and give the Blue Hens the upper hand. Trailing 21-17, Delaware went on a 6-0 run with Eileen Gex at the service line, including three kills from Grunza. The Tigers broke the run with back-to-back points, tying the set at 23-23, but the Blue Hens got consecutive kills from Grunza and Mason to put it away. Towson carried momentum into the third, going on an early 5-0 run to take an 8-4 lead in the set. The Tigers pushed the lead to 14-8 before Delaware’s initial 6-0 spurt in the frame gave the Blue Hens life. 

Tasting its first conference title in over a decade, the Blue Hens put together a dominant fourth set, recording 12 kills without an error to clinch the match with a 25-17 victory. Tied 3-3, Delaware rallied off a 4-0 spurt to take control, capping the run with a block from Gha’Naye Whitfield-Moss and Mason. Maintaining a four-point cushion, the Blue Hens tallied another four consecutive points to push the advantage to 15-7 before gaining its largest lead at 18-9. The margin proved too much to overcome, and Basaranlar ended the match with a dump set, initiating the dog pile at center court. 

Delaware narrowly edged Towson .279-.278 in team hitting percentage, but the Tigers maintained an edge in kills (68-61), assists (65-52), and digs (79-73). However, the Blue Hens recorded four service aces, while the Tigers had nine service errors without an ace.

Saturday was the third time Delaware and Towson have faced in the CAA Volleyball title match, with it being the first time the Blue Hens emerged victoriously, ending TU’s four-year reign at the top. Delaware earns the conference's automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA Tournament and will learn its fate in the big dance on Sunday, November 26, at 6 p.m. on ESPNU.  

2023 CAA Volleyball All-Tournament Team

  • Lani Mason, Delaware (MOP)
  • Ezgi Basaranlar, Delaware
  • Madelyn Grunza, Delaware
  • Nina Cajic, Towson
  • Irbe Lazda, Towson
  • Chloe Cook, Campbell
  • Julia Patsos, Stony Brook