Akron def. Buffalo, 3-0
Ball State def. Toledo, 3-0
Stories courtsey of MAC Media Relations Offices
Akron def. Buffalo, 3-0
AKRON, Ohio – The University of Akron volleyball team was prepared to make a statement in its 2012 Mid-American Conference opener Thursday night and it did so in a big way, issuing Buffalo a 3-0 shutout in front of a lively home crowd.
The win marked Akron's first sweep of UB at home since the 2009 season, and brought the Zips' record to 11-9 in conference-opening matches.
UA's middles were all but unstoppable on both sides of the ball all night, as Tina Dimitrijevs and Paiton Twitty both finished hitting well above .500 with 13 and 11 kills from Morgan Kuhn's 36 assists. As a team, the Zips out-hit the Bulls .311 to .114, and limited themselves to just 13 attack errors in 103 attempts.
Jill Paluch played well up to her MAC Defensive Player of the Week potential posting a match-high 16 digs, though both teams finished locked at 40 digs apiece. The defensive edge tilted in Akron's favor though due to the blocking advantage led by Twitty. The Zips put together nine total blocks, Twitty with two solo and one assist, compared to Buffalo's four team blocks.
Akron (8-5, 1-0) started off in a hole in the first set, down by as many as four points before clawing its way back to tie the score at 16 on a Buffalo error. Alex Cocklin delivered one of her five kills of the set on the very next play to give Akron its first lead of the night.
Service errors hurt Akron late in the set, and the two teams shuffled back and forth, trading points and tying the score eight more times. The Zips saw three set points slip away before Dimitrijevs scored the first of two consecutive points to put Akron on top once and for all at 28-26.
Their confidence growing with every play, the Zips came out of the gate in the second set with an 8-3 lead. Dimitrijevs served four straight points and Twitty denied two big blocks at the net to highlight the early run.
Akron would never relinquish its hold on the set, exhibiting its dominance that seemed to be the theme of the night and showcasing its largest of 10 at two different points. The Zips held UB to a meager .061 hitting percentage in the period. Mary Delich came in to play the front row and put down three strategically placed kills to help UA lock up the second set by a 25-17 final score.
Heading into the break, the Zips found themselves in a good position up two sets to none. Akron is 6-0 this season when leading 2-0 after two sets.
The third win didn't come easy, but Akron got it done in regulation with a 25-21 victory. Buffalo scored first on a quick service ace but that is the only time it would lead. The score tied late in the game, on every score from 16 to 21, before the Zips were truly able to break away. It was only fitting that Akron zipped up its first MAC victory of the season with two key blocks on the right side from Dimitrijevs and Delich.
Akron will have one day to rest before traveling to MAC West Division foe Ball State (8-6, 1-0) on Saturday, Sept. 22. First serve is set for 7:30 p.m. ET. The Cardinals defeated Toledo in straight sets Thursday evening.
Ball State def. Toledo, 3-0
MUNCIE, Ind. - - The Ball State women's volleyball team opened Mid-American Conference play with a 3-0 (27-25, 25-16, 25-21) sweep of Toledo Thursday evening at Worthen Arena.
With the victory, Ball State improves to 8-6 (1-0 MAC) on the season, having won its last four matches. Toledo falls to 6-7 (0-1 MAC) with the loss.
"It's nice to open MAC play with a win," said Ball State head coach Steve Shondell. "We did what we had to do tonight to bring home the victory, especially coming up with some big points to end the first set. Toledo fought us hard all night, and I give our team credit for hanging in and battling through. We have come a long way in the first month of the season, but the key is we have to keep getting better."
Reigning MAC West Division Offensive Player of the Week, senior outside hitter Kara Bates (Bradley, Ill./Bradley Bourbonnais Community/Maryland) continued her solid offensive play, blasting a match-high 19 kills, nine more than the next closest player in Toledo's Lauren Rafdal.
Bates also finished the night with an impressive .410 (19-3-39) attack percentage, helping lead BSU to a .226 (51-23-124) hitting mark as a team. She also collected nine digs, a solo block and an ace.
Junior outside hitter Kylee Baker (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) added eight kills and tied for team-high honors with 13 digs, while junior libero Catie Fredrich (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Menomonee Falls) also collected 13 digs.
With her 13 digs, Fredrich upped her career total to 1,070 which moves her up one spot to 13th on BSU's all-time career digs chart.
Overall, the Ball Stat defense limited the Toledo attack, which was paced by Rafdal, to a .126 (32-18-111) hitting mark for the night, including a -.071 (6-8-28) effort in the second set. UT's McCall Paynter led all players with 13 digs.
BSU held a 52-42 advantage in digs in the contest, while serving up four aces to Toledo's one. The Rockets out-blocked the Cardinals 10-2.
Ball State held a 16-10 edge midway through the first set, only to see the Rockets battle back and even the score at 18. Ball State answered with a 5-1 run to reach set-point at 24-19. However, Toledo would not give in, scoring six of the next seven points to force overtime. With the score knotted at 25, back-to-back blasts from Bates, part of her nine in the set, allowed the Cardinals to claim the opening frame 27-25.
The Cardinals came out fired up in the second set, pulling ahead 5-1, before a run by the guests brought them back within one at 9-8. However, the Cardinals would score 11 of the next 14 points to pull ahead 20-11. Junior setter Jacqui Seidel (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) would put down the frame-winner at 25-16.
Toledo took an early 11-9 edge in the third set, only to have the Cardinals respond with the next four points, including an ace from Seidel, to claim the advantage at 13-11. Toledo managed to tie the score at 15, but the Cardinals pulled away from there, winning the set 25-21 on Bates' 19th marker of the night.
The Ball State women's volleyball team returns to action Saturday, when it hosts Akron in a 7:30 p.m. first serve at Worthen Arena.