Western Michigan 3, Notre Dame 1
KALAMAZOO -- Behind a match-high 13 kills from junior middle blocker Ashley Turnage and freshman outside hitter Ali Gossen, the Western Michigan volleyball team defeated Notre Dame, 3-1 (25-19, 21-25, 25-23, 25-18), in front of a season-high 1,562 at University Arena Tuesday night.
The Broncos (16-6) won their fourth match in a row and extended their home court winning streak to 16 in a row by beating the Fighting Irish (12-8) for the second time in a row and the first time in Kalamazoo since 1990. WMU also finishes the regular season 4-0 against the Big East Conference (Pittsburgh, DePaul, Seton Hall, Notre Dame).
Turnage hit .478 and added three kills and two digs, while sophomore middle blocker Jessica Brown had eight kills and three blocks. Senior outside hitter Allyson Doyle tied her career high with two solo blocks and her season high with five total blocks, in addition to 13 digs, five kills and two assists. Freshman outside hitter Gillian Asque earned her first start since Sept. 30 and delivered with 12 digs and six kills. Freshman outside hitter Taylor Richard added 11 digs of her own.
Junior setter Sam Viox set a career high with a .545 attack percentage that led to seven kills, 46 assists, season-high 18 digs and two blocks. Freshman libero Lena Oliver earned her fifth match in a row of more than 20 digs with 23 and her seventh in the last eight outings.
The Broncos tallied more kills (58-49) and more digs (84-79), while also out-hitting the Fighting Irish, .180 to .143. Notre Dame had four more blocks (12-8) and each team had three aces, but Notre Dame had five more errors (8-3). Notre Dame tried everything as they used more players (13) than WMU has on its roster (11).
Middle blocker Kellie Sciacca led Notre Dame with 11 kills and five blocks, while middle blocker Hilary Eppink hit .321 with 10 kills and five blocks. Libero Frenchy Silva led all players with 29 digs. WMU held Notre Dame's leader in kills, outside hitter Andrea McHugh, to eight kills and a .000 attack percentage.
Notre Dame struggled out of the gate with Turnage at the service line as they committed four consecutive errors, the last one on a block by Doyle and Brown, to start the match. A kill by Turnage pushed WMU's lead to five, 12-7, but Notre Dame came back to close within one, 15-14. The teams traded points until WMU increased its one-point lead, 19-18, to four, 22-18, with kills by Doyle, Brown and Viox. WMU ended the set on a 6-1 run to win, 25-19, and take the early lead after Gossen's kill.
WMU hit .175 with 13 kills as five players had between two and three kills, while Notre Dame hit .093 with 11 kills and seven errors.
The Fighting Irish fought back with five of the first seven points to open the second set. Western Michigan rallied with a 6-2 run to take the lead, 8-7. The Fighting Irish responded with a 10-3 run to go back up, 17-11. Notre Dame recorded a kill from Sciacca to lead by eight, 22-14, when WMU made a late rally. A kill by freshman middle blocker Emily Harris pulled WMU within three, 24-21, but it couldn't get closer, 25-21.
Neither team was effective offensively as Notre Dame had 10 kills and nine errors to hit .022 and WMU hit -.043 with 10 kills and 12 errors. The Fighting Irish had five blocks in the set.
After trading point to start the set, WMU scored three in a row with kills from Asque and Doyle, 10-7. Kills by Viox and Brown pushed the lead to four, 13-9, but Notre Dame fought back within one, 19-18. After the teams traded points, Gossen hit back-to-back kills around a Notre Dame timeout to increase the lead, 22-19. Notre Dame scored the next two, 22-21, but kills by Turnage and Gossen gave WMU set point, 24-21. The Fighting Irish saved the first two, but Turnage put a ball away on the third to give WMU the third set, 25-23.
Gossen had seven kills in 14 swings (.500) and Turnage had four kills in eight swings (.500) to lead WMU to 19 kills and .306 attack percentage. The Fighting Irish hit .289 with 16 kills.
Notre Dame started the fourth set with a service error and WMU took advantage to build a 6-1 lead that it wouldn't relinquish. The set wasn't without drama as Notre Dame closed within one, 9-8, but a 4-2 run put WMU back up three, 13-10, after kills by Viox and Doyle forced Notre Dame to call timeout. The Irish scored the next two points, 13-12, but Brown had a kill and then Turnage and Viox blocked two shots in row to put WMU up four, 16-12. After an Irish attack error, the lead was six, 21-15, and that was enough to hold off Notre Dame, 25-18, after Brown's kill on the first match point.
WMU hit .306 with 16 kills in the fourth set, including four kills by Asque and Turnage. Notre Dame had 12 kills and hit .171.
Western Michigan returns to Mid-American Conference play with four matches on the road. This weekend, the Broncos head to defending MAC champion Ohio (13-8, 5-3 MAC) on Friday at 7 p.m. and Kent State (10-13, 3-5 MAC) on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Bowling Green 3, Cleveland State 0
Cleveland, Ohio - For a team struggling to find a formula to win, stepping out of conference can sometimes be a breath of fresh air. For the Bowling Green volleyball team Tuesday night, that was exactly the case. Despite facing a team that entered the match with a 16-2 record in Cleveland State, the Falcons rolled to a three-set sweep of the Vikings 26-24, 25-19, 25-22.
A talented but extremely youthful Bowling Green volleyball team had shown potential throughout the last few weeks but entered Tuesday night's contest on a six-match losing streak. But the Falcons outpowered Cleveland State and became the first team this year to hand the Viking a three-set sweep.
Bowling Green outhit Cleveland State with a .196 attack percentage, compared to .128 for the Vikings, and outblocked the host school 10.0-3.0. Freshmen Paige Penrod and Danielle Tonyan led the offensive power surge with 15 and 11 kills respectively, while Emily Kauth, Noelle Spitler and Laura Avila paced the team at the net defensively with five blocks each.
The Falcons set the tempo with a come-from-behind victory in the opening set, battling back from a 22-19 deficit. An Avila kill, followed by two Cleveland State attack errors tied the score at 22-22. The Vikings had a set point opportunity with a 24-23 lead but Spitler came up with a solo block to tie the score again. Cleveland State followed with a pair of attack errors and the Falcons won the opening stanza.
Cleveland State came out firing on all cylinders in the third set, building leads of 3-0 and 9-3. But BGSU went on a 7-1 run behind three Penrod kills to tie the score. Still tied at 15-15, Tonyan posted a kill and the Vikings had a ball handling error. The set would never be tied again as the Falcons built a lead as large as four points and won on a Tonyan kill.
Ashley Dunn finished with a team-high 13 digs and Penrod added 12 for a double-double to go with her 11 kills. Avila handed out 27 assists with her five blocks.
Cleveland State falls to 16-3 with the loss and Bowling Green improves to 7-16. The Falcons will host Toledo Friday night for its annual Pink Out event at 7 p.m.