Kelly McCaddin led the AU volleyball team to a clean sweep at the Spartan-Aggie Invitational in Greensboro, N.C.
The sophomore outside hitter earned MVP honors at the event, signaling the step up she has taken since last year.
“She was a force on the right [side] this weekend,” AU head coach Barry Goldberg said. “She played a position she was more comfortable with [and] I think that helped her. It was a big weekend for us for sure.”
The Eagles (5-3) swept both North Carolina A&T (0-12) Sept. 7 and UNC Asheville Sept. 8 in their first two matches. They then capped the weekend by defeating UNC Greensboro Saturday night in a five-set thriller on their way to the tournament championship.
Freshman libero Allison Cappellino and sophomore outside hitter/middle blocker Sara Rishell joined McCaddin on the All-Tournament Team.
McCaddin’s impressive hitting percentage was one of the top stories of the weekend, including her .571 mark off eight kills and zero errors in the UNC Asheville (4-8) match. She also hit .294, just .001 behind Rishell’s team-best .295 mark, against UNC Greensboro (4-3) off 15 kills and five errors.
“[McCaddin] played great over the weekend,” said Rishell, who recorded a team-best 31 kills during the tournament. “She was just putting balls away. When she’s up there with an open net, no one is going to stop her. No one can dig her when she’s up, and no one will block her. She did really, really well.”
Two things McCaddin improved this season are her versatility and ball handling, which has made her a significant threat on the right side. She has also seen more opportunities after being either sick or hurt during the first month of the season in 2011.
“She’s improving,” Goldberg said. “She doesn’t miss a lot of balls off her hand, she hits the ball fairly cleanly off the hand. When she goes after it pretty strong, she’s one of our most successful attackers. I think overall, her role is increasing and she’s worked at it for it to increase.”
McCaddin has continued to ride her hot streak from the end of last year, when she hit a team-best .526 in AU’s four-set loss to Delaware in the NCAA Tournament.
As she keeps improving, her potential seems to be limitless. Even though she has already made impressive strides, Goldberg thinks she could have a big future ahead of her.
“The only question now is how quickly she can increase to the level where she’s a nationally elite player,” Goldberg said. “She definitely has the potential to have a career beyond the college level, so the question is: can she play at the level now while she’s still in college?”