Eastern Michigan 3, Central Michigan 2
The victory marks the 11th time in the last 13 seasons that the Eagles have started league play with a win and it also boosts the team's record to 13-3 overall, 1-0 in MAC play while Central drops to 6-7 (0-1 MAC).
Freshman outside hitter Paige Roback (Maumee, Ohio-Notre Dame Academy) posted a double-double for the Eagles, notching 14 kills and 17 digs, while teammate Rachel Iaquaniello (Plymouth, Mich.-Dearborn Divine Child) had 20 kills and nine digs from the opposite side. Defensively, the Eagles were paced by junior libero Haley Stein (Carleton, Mich.-St. Mary's Catholic Central) as she totaled 34 digs.
The Eagles and the Chips battled closely throughout the opening set, but the Eagles never trailed after getting down 1-0. Eastern began to push ahead after an Iaquaniello kill gave them a 17-13 advantage. The lead would swell to as much as five before Jenn Swartz (Canton, Mich.-Westland John Glenn) slammed home the final score of the set.
In the second set, the Eagles fell behind early, 16-9, before stringing together seven straight points to knot the score at 16-apiece. But the Chips, led by Lindsey Dulude and Kaitlyn Schultz, were too much to overcome. Shultz posted a .571 attack percentage in the frame as the Chips even the match with the 25-21 set win.
In the third set, the Eagles got ahead early and never looked back, as they mounted an 8-3 lead that the Chips never recovered from, and ultimately went on to win the set decisively, 25-16. The fourth set was again a back-and-forth seesaw which featured 16 ties and five lead changes. With the scored tied, 17-17, EMU was able to take the lead on a CMU service error, but the lead wouldn't stand very long as Iaquaniello posted an attack error of her own which sparked a 6-2 run by the Chips to close the match.
The fifth and final set was controlled by the Eagles from start to finish, despite another five ties. After the Chips tied the score at 4-4, Eastern Michigan began to pull away on the strength of three unforced errors by CMU (two service errors and an attack error), and outscored the Chips 11-7 to close the set and the match, 15-11.
Central finished the match with 12 service errors and was out-hit by Eastern as the Eagles posted a .256 attack percentage to the Chips .217.
The Eagles will wrap up its three-game home stand this week against MAC East Division opponent Kent State Saturday, Sept. 25, at the Convocation Center. The match is slated to start 7 p.m.
Ohio 3, Kent State 0
ATHENS, Ohio - Ohio Volleyball won their 2010 MAC opener at home on Thursday evening in three sets against Kent State, 25-13, 25-17, 25-15. The Bobcats (9-5, 1-0) have now won 12-straight MAC regular-season home contests dating back to 2008.
"I think our team had fun tonight," Head Coach Ryan Theis said. "That's the biggest thing. We played an incredibly difficult preseason schedule to prepare for our conference season. We wanted to get as much RPI respect as we could and it was challenging. Without question, it prepares us for the start of a conference season and I like the way we came out today and established ourselves."
The first set was tied 4-4 before the 'Cats won nine of the next ten points for a 13-5 lead. The lead was still at eight points, 18-10, as Ohio knocked out seven of the next 10 points to win the first set 25-13. Katie Post had five kills, a block and an ace while Lexie Hartnett had three kills. Michelle Jantsch added a kill, a block and nine assists.
"Katie had five kills in the first set, that stood out," Theis said. "She cooled off a bit in the second game and at that point Sue picked up. Mandy had a really nice game, we've worked on a few things with her, and I think that really showed tonight. I thought Meryl controlled the ball well ... On a night like tonight when the numbers looked good, I think it's fair to say everyone played well."
Set number two started with a 4-1 advantage to Ohio but Kent would keep the set close and only trailed 14-13 midway through the proceedings. Two kills by Jantsch, one by Sue Jacobi and a Kent error pushed the lead to four at 18-14. After two Golden Flash points, Ohio scored seven of the final eight points in the set to take a 2-0 lead in the match. Jacobi finished with seven kills and an ace with Jantsch picking up two more kills and 10 assists.
After falling behind 3-0 in the final set, Ohio grabbed nine of the next 12 points for a 9-6 lead. Three straight attack errors by the Golden Flashes broke a stalemate. Ohio still led at 18-13 before scoring seven of the next nine points to close out the first set. Mandy Nichols had two kills and a block and throughout the match did very well with her serve to extend long-scoring rallies for the Bobcats.
"With her [Mandy's] body recovering from her offseason surgery, a weekend where we play three or four games a weekend we didn't play her a lot on the back row," Theis said. "Now when we're not at two matches a weekend we can play her back into shape. I think she's been having a much better season than what people expected."
Overall, Jacobi led Ohio with 11 kills and hit .391. Nichols had seven kills and three digs while Post had six kills and two blocks. Jantsch finished with four kills and hit .429. The senior setter also racked up 25 assists an five digs. Nicole Staverman and Meryl Bender finished tied for the team lead with seven digs apiece. Overall, Ohio out-killed Kent 38-22 and out-hit them .342 to .013.
"I like that we're eager to be successful," Theis added. "I like that our team has a chip on their shoulders to be successful. This team is hungry and wants to improve. From that aspect, I'd like to have one or two difficult matches along the way. I like that we're angry."
The Bobcats travel to Central Michigan this Saturday for a match at 7 p.m.
YPSILANTI, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) - The Eastern Michigan University volleyball team opened Mid-American Conference play with a hard-fought 3-2 victory (25-21, 21-25, 25-16, 21-25, 15-10) over in-state rival Central Michigan University, Thursday, Sept. 23, here at the Convocation Center.