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Dayton volleyball team looks for fifth straight A-10 tourney title

The Dayton volleyball team has its health again. It has momentum. Coach Matt Affolder, in his first year at the helm after five seasons an assistant, feels good about the Flyers’ chances in the Atlantic 10 tournament.

“We played some really good ball this weekend,” he said Tuesday,” and did some really good things. We know it’s going to be a very balanced A-10 tournament. It’s going to be interesting.”

The fifth-seeded Flyers (14-12, 8-6 A-10) play No. 4 seed St. Louis (13-16, 9-5) in the quarterfinals at 5 p.m. Friday in Washington, D.C. The winner plays No. 1 seed Duquesne (18-9, 12-2) at 5 p.m. Saturday.

The Flyers won the last four games of the regular season, beating George Mason twice, La Salle and George Washington.

Dayton can now sport the lineup Affolder envisioned early in the season. The Flyers lost sophomore outside hitter Alaina Turner for about a month and a half, he said, with a biceps/rotator cuff issue.

“That changed the dynamic of our team offensively in more ways than just her position,” Affolder said. “Then we moved another starter to her position, which took that starter’s offense from her location. We had to do some shuffling.”

Right-side hitter Shayne Brown, a redshirt senior, moved to outside hitter when Turner was out.

“That was a little bit of an adjustment for her,” Affolder said. “That also took Shayne away from her position. We were in a lot of incredibly close matches, some of those losses we had in conference. We feel good about this lineup now that we’re back to the way we were.”

Turner had 18 kills Sunday in a 3-1 win over George Washington.

“She’s back,” Affolder said, “and she had a huge weekend.”

The Flyers have won four straight A-10 tournament titles, all under head coach Kelly Sheffield, who was named head coach at Wisconsin last December. Affolder laughed when he said there’s a lot more work involved when you’re the head coach. At the same time, he’s looking forward to his first conference tournament in that position.

“It’s going to be fun,” he said. “You have a familiarity with the conference, but the thing is the conference has a lot of impactful freshman. A lot of teams are different than they were a year ago. There’s a lot of parity in the league. In the last few years, it’s been Dayton and Xavier and some people battling along the way. This year, it’s just been who’s been playing well on a different night. You’ve had a lot of different results.”

Women’s basketball: The Flyers (2-2) travel to Vanderbilt for a 3 p.m. game Sunday. Vanderbilt (3-1) lost 82-77 to Marquette in its last game and plays at Duke tonight.

Dayton announced the signing of Jenna Burdette, a 5-8 guard from Coolville, Ohio, on Saturday. She averaged 18.1 points per game as a junior.

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