Friday's MAC Volleyball Results

Updated 11/6/2010
Friday's MAC Volleyball Results
Akron 3, Kent State 2
Ball State 3, Eastern Michigan 2
Buffalo 3, Ohio 2

Akron 3, Kent State 2
Akron, Ohio - The University of Akron volleyball team picked up a thriller Friday evening completing their season sweep of Kent State in five sets (15-25, 17-25, 25-22, 27-25, 15-12) at James A. Rhodes Arena.

Held to a .123 hitting percentage through the first two sets while Kent State struck a .460 mark, a determined Zips squad would rally back to win the next three for their seventh conference win, the most the program has boasted since the 2003 season.

Tying the match for the first time at the 10-10 mark in the third set, Akron took its first lead off back-to-back blocks from juniors Tina Dimitrijevs and Courtney Jarvis (13-10). Not going down easily, the Golden Flashes hung close through the end but up by two at 22-20, Akron would take a timeout and score two points out of the break (24-20). The Flashes would come within two once again at 24-22 but a kill from sophomore setter Morgan Kuhn would keep the Zips alive.

Taking a quick 6-1 lead to start the fourth set, once again KSU battled back to come within one at the 11-10 mark. Remaining close, Kent State took the lead at 16-17. A back and forth affair tied at 25, the Zips would force a KSU error and welcome a dominant kill from senior Jackie Goleman to head to their eighth five set match of the season.

Akron started out on the losing end seeing a 5-1 lead by Kent to start the set, however, continuing to fight throughout, UA tied to up at 9-9 off a kill from redshirt freshman Ari Mewhorter. Taking the lead (10-9) off a Golden Flash error, a kill from KSU tied it back up (10-10) and the Zips would force two Kent State errors to go back up (12-10). Three kills from freshman Alex Cocklin and Mewhorter would seal the win for the Zips.

With the win, the Zips are now 6-2 in five set matches. The victory also marked the first time this season that Akron has lost the first set and went on to win the match.

Dimitrijevs and Goleman were the offensive leaders posting 13 kills apiece. Dimitrijevs also saw solid defensive action grabbing six block assists. Harvey was the defensive leader with 25 digs. Kuhn finished with 47 assists on the night adding 14 digs and three kills.

Now 15-10 overall and 7-6 in Mid-American Conference play, the Zips boast the most wins in both categories under the tenure of third year head coach Ron Arenz.

Akron will return to the court on Saturday welcoming Ohio University for a 7:00 p.m. match up. The event will also honor final year players Goleman and Chazity Bush after the match.

Ball State 3, Eastern Michigan 2
YPSILANTI, Mich. - - In a match fitting of the top two teams in the Mid-American Conference, the Ball State women's volleyball team tallied a pivotal 3-2 (16-25, 25-22, 16-25, 25-23, 15-7) come-from-behind victory over Eastern Michigan Friday evening at EMU's Convocation Center.

With the win, the Cardinals (21-4 / 11-2 MAC) take a two-match lead in the MAC regular season standings with three matches left to play. With a win tomorrow night at Central Michigan (7 p.m. first serve), the Cardinals can secure at least a tie for the MAC regular season title for the first time since the 2002 season.

Eastern Michigan drops to 22-8 (9-4 MAC) with the loss and is now tied with Northern Illinois (9-4 MAC) and Western Michigan (9-4 MAC) for second-place in the MAC West Division and regular season race.

"Tonight we put together a tremendous come-from-behind victory over a team that was right on our heels in the conference race," said Ball State head coach Steve Shondell. "To go on the road and beat a team that played as well as Eastern Michigan did tonight is a great achievement. We are real excited to come away with the victory after such a seesaw battle on EMU's home court."

In Friday's win over the Eagles, freshman outside attackers Kylee Baker (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North H.S.) and Whitney Heeres (Flushing, Mich./Flushing Senior H.S.) paced the Ball State offense with 16 and 14 kills, respectively. Baker added 12 digs for her sixth double-double of the season, while posting a solo stuff and a .271 (16-3-48) hitting percentage. Heeres added three digs and a block assist, while connecting for a .182 (14-4-55) clip.

Junior middle blocker Kelsey Brandl (Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville North H.S.) added 13 kills to go along with a .407 (13-2-27) hitting percentage, while also securing three blocks.

Reigning National Player of the Week Alyssa Rio (Wayne, Ill./St. Francis H.S.) led the Ball State defense with 27 digs, while adding BSU's only two aces, including a match-winner. With her 27 digs, Rio is now three shy of becoming the second player in program history to collect 2,000 career digs at 1,997.

Junior defensive specialist Kaylee Schembra (Indianapolis, Ind./Roncalli H.S.) and freshman defensive specialist Catie Fredrich (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Menomonee Falls H.S.) finished the night with 19 and 10 digs, respectively.

Junior setter Brittany McGinnis (Fraser, Mich./Fraser H.S.) guided the Ball State offense to a .243 (58-15-177) rate of success in the contest, including a .556 (10-0-18) mark in the final set. She handed out a team-best 53 assists to go along with seven digs and three blocks.

Also turning in solid offensive numbers for the Cardinals were junior right side hitter Jennifer Boyd (Evans City, Pa./Seneca Valley H.S.) and freshman middle blocker Mindy Marx (Grand Haven, Mich./Grand Haven H.S.) with seven apiece. Boyd connected for three straight kills midway through the fifth set, while Marx hit .600 (7-1-10) for the match.

Eastern Michigan also had three players tally double-figure kills in the contest with 18 each from Rachel Iaquaniello and Paige Robeck. Both also added 18 digs in the match, while EMU libero Haley Stein collected a match-best 29. Erin Short added 15 kills for the Eagles.

With Ball State holding a 5-4 lead in the opening frame, a kill from Robeck sparked a 6-0 run to give the host Eagles an 11-5 lead. The Cardinals scored three of the next four points, cutting the EMU advantage to four at 12-8. From there, however, Eastern Michigan scored the next five points and went on to win the set 25-16.

Eastern Michigan carried over the momentum early in the second stanza, as two kills from Robeck helped the Eagles pull out to a 4-1 lead. A pair of EMU service errors and an ace from Rio helped BSU battle back within one at 5-4. While the Eagles were able to build another three-point lead at the 9-6 mark, a kill from Brandl and a pair of errors from the hosts evened the score at nine.

Moments later, kills from Heeres, Marx and Boyd gave the guests a 13-11 advantage. Eastern Michigan answered with the next four points, reclaiming the lead and forcing a BSU timeout at 15-13. A three-point run sparked by a Boyd kill looked to give the Cardinals momentum, but EMU followed with the next four points leading to Ball State's second timeout at 19-16.

Eastern Michigan added another point after the break, only to have a pair of Baker kills help Ball State battle back and even the score at 20-20. Two more Baker kills helped give the Cardinals a 23-21 lead, while an EMU service error gave BSU set-point at 24-22. Brandl and McGinnis followed with a set-winning block at 25-22 to even the match at one set apiece.

Another early run gave the hosts another 4-1 lead to open the third set. The Cardinals responded with kills from Marx, Brandl and Baker to tie the score at 4-4. With the frame knotted at eight, the Eagles were able to capitalize on three BSU errors to build a 13-9 edge forcing BSU's first timeout of the set.

Unfortunately, EMU added four of the next five points leading to Ball State's second timeout of the frame at 17-10. The Eagles went on to win the game 25-16 on a Jenn Swartz marker.

Brandl scored two early kills in the fourth frame, helping Ball State establish a 4-1 lead. EMU battled back within one at the 8-7 mark, only to have kills from Brandl and Baker help reestablish BSU's three-point edge at 10-7. Moments later, a kill from Heeres and an EMU attack error pushed the score to 13-9 leading to a timeout from the hosts.

With Ball State maintaining a 15-12 edge, EMU rattled off the next three points, tying the score at 15 and causing a BSU minute break. The score remained deadlocked at 18-18, before a Baker blast and an Eagles error gave BSU the next two points. After an Iaquaniello marker, kills from Brandl and Heeres moved the score to 22-19 in favor of the guests.

Following an Eastern Michigan timeout, the Eagles responded with the next two points to draw within one at 22-21. Kills from Heeres and Boyd helped give BSU set-point at 24-22, while an EMU service error ended the frame at 25-23.

In the pivotal final set, the teams battled to a 4-4 stalemate, before a Brandl kill sparked a 3-0 run from Ball State, giving the Cardinals a 7-4 advantage. A kill from Heeres two plays later gave BSU an 8-5 edge at the side switch.

Behind three-straight kills from Boyd, the Cardinals extended their lead to five points at the 11-6 mark. After a kill from EMU's Short moved the score to 11-7, four straight Ball State points ended the set at 15-7 and gave the Cardinals a two-match advantage in the MAC standings entering the final three matches of the season. A Brandl kill gave BSU match-point at 14-7, while Rio's second ace of the night secured the Ball State victory.

Buffalo 3, Ohio 2
BUFFALO, NY - The University at Buffalo volleyball team began senior weekend on the right foot Friday night, picking up just its second ever win over defending MAC Champion, Ohio, and its first since 1999. UB was able to overcome an early fifth-set deficit to take the match 3-2. The win equals UB's win total from last season as it is now 16-13 on the year and 4-9 in MAC play.

UB took the match 20-25, 25-15, 26-24, 20-25, 15-12 as it hit .213 for the match, opposed to .188 for the Bobcats. The Bulls constantly crawled back in the match after dropping the first set 25-20. UB had its most dominant performance in the second set, jumping out to an early 7-3 lead and never looking back. UB extended its lead to 10 at 16-6 and eventually 12 at 21-9. The Bobcats got it back to within nine at 24-15, but a kill from Abby Niekamp tied things up in the match.

Ohio jumped out to a quick 7-3 lead in the third set, but the Bulls responded with an 8-1 run to take an 11-8 lead in the set. The Bulls ran their lead to as much as 21-13 before the Bobcats began to make a comeback, tying things at 23-23. UB had its first set point at 24-23, but the Bobcats tied things up at 24-24. Following an Ohio hitting error, UB clinched the set on a kill from senior Kristin Bignell.

The Bobcats answered back with a fourth set win to tie the match up and send things into a fifth set. Early on it looked like UB's dream of an upset would not happen as Ohio began the fifth set on a 7-3 run. The Bobcats led 8-4 as the two teams changed sides. The Bulls responded with three straight points to pull within 8-7. Ohio moved back to a three-point lead, going up 10-7, but UB again chipped away with another two points, to pull within 10-9. An Ohio point gave it an 11-9 advantage, but a kill from senior Marisa Hornbaker and an Ohio error tied things up for the first time in the set at 11-11. The Bobcats went back up in the set 12-11, but that turned out to be their final point of the night. A kill from senior Kayla Govier tied things up at 12-12 and an Ohio attack error gave UB a 13-12 lead as Ohio called its second timeout of the set. Senior Lindsey Schlegel came out of the timeout and pulled the Bulls to within one point of victory with a service ace before Niekamp fired home the match-clinching kill.

"It was a great team win tonight to be able defeat a great team like Ohio," said head coach Todd Kress. "We stuck with our game plan and fought through some adversity, but we fought for five sets and this win shows that we can do some damage here towards the end of the season."

Niekamp led the way with a career-high 15 kills, hitting .370 for the match. Govier was just as solid as she finished with 14 kills and just three errors on 34 total attacks. Hornbaker had nine kills, while freshman Christine Fritsche added seven. Freshman Carissa McKenna tied her career-high with six kills, recording no errors on nine total attempts. Freshman Dani Reinert had 22 assists, while Schlegel added 21. UB had seven service aces as a team, two coming from Fritsche , Reinert and freshman Dana Musil. Schlegel added her one in the fifth set.

Defensively freshman Kelly Svoboda finished with a career-high 25 digs, while Fritsche added 14. Musil had eight and Govier added six. Bignell had four blocks assists, while Govier added three blocks, including a solo. Hornbaker, McKenna and Niekamp each added two block assists.

The Bulls return home for their final regular season match at Alumni Arena tomorrow night as they host Kent State. UB will honor its four seniors prior to the 5:00 pm start.