Western Michigan Advances in League Tourney with Three-Game Sweep of Kent

Updated 11/26/1999
MUNCIE, Ind. (November 26) -- Monyka Paul blasted a match-high 15 kills and hit a match-best .520 this evening to lead Western Michigan University to a 15-6, 15-12, 15-12 victory over Kent State University in the first semifinal match of the Mid-American Conference Volleyball Tournament being contested in Ball State University's University Arena.

With the victory, the Broncos (25-6) advance to Saturday's championship match, where they will meet Ball State -- a 15-6, 15-6, 15-7 victor over Bowling Green in the other semifinal match.

"We're very pleased to be moving on to the second round," said WMU head coach Cathy George. "Kent is a great team and plays great defense. We knew we would have to cover the whole court. Our team was very attentive to defense."

Aided by two Carrie McEnery service aces and a kill by Shiva Davis, KSU exploded to a 5-0 lead in the opening contest. The Broncos bounced back with the help of three straight unforced attack errors, however, to eventually tie the score. Paul then teamed with Zakiya Pope on a block to give WMU a 6-5 lead it would never relinquish. The 5-11 junior blasted three kills and teamed with Pope on another block to help account for four of Western's last six points to close out the game.

Paul was equally impressive in the second contest. With WMU clinging to a 6-4 lead, she recorded a solo block and a kill on back-to-back plays to build the lead to four points. The lead was still four later in the game whe Paul pounded a kill and teamed with Pope on another block to make the score 11-5. She eventually closed out the game by tipping a ball for a kill before teaming with Traci Morin for a block on game point.

"That was one of Monyka's better all-around performances in the front and back row," George said. "She did a nice job blocking and digging for us."

The Broncos built a 7-2 lead in the final game only to see Kent battle back to tie the contest at 10-10 on back-to-back WMU attack errors. WMU regained the lead on a ball handling error, but the Golden Flashes tied the contest at 11-11 on a Carrie Patterson kill. KSU gave the Broncos the lead, however, with an attack error before Pope recorded a solo block and M'Myia McQuirter registered a kill to push Western to within one point of winning the match.

Patterson narrowed the gap to 14-12 with a kill, but Morin blasted a kill to end the game and Kent's season (14-17).

"Western came out tonight and played very well," said KSU head coach Mora Kanim. "Everytime we made a run, they responded. I was impressed with how well they played. I thought they held up really well, and we didn't put quite enough pressure on them. We have to stay in a game a long time to win. We just couldn't get over the hump."