Eastern Michigan 3, Western Michigan 2
YPSILANTI, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) - It took five sets and extra points in the final set, but the Eastern Michigan University volleyball team won a 3-2 (16-25, 25-22, 21-25, 27-25, 23-21) thriller over Western Michigan University here Friday, Oct. 8, at the Convocation Center.
With the win, the Eagles advance to 17-5 (4-1 Mid-American Conference) on the season and pulled even with Ball State University atop the West Division. Western Michigan falls to 12-6 overall and 3-2 in the MAC.
The Eagles were paced offensively by sophomore outside hitter Rachel Iaquaniello (Plymouth, Mich.-Dearborn Divine Child) who set a Convocation Center record with 33 kills in the contest. It was also the fourth-highest total recorded by an EMU player, the most in a game for an EMU player in more than 12 years and the highest total by a player in the MAC since 2006. Just a week ago (Oct. 1), Iaquaniello turned in the best performance by an EMU player since 2006 by totaling 27 kills.
In addition to Iaquaniello's record-setting day, junior libero Haley Stein (Carelton, Mich.-St. Mary's Catholic Central) broke a school-record by recording 55 digs, and also tied for fourth-most digs in NCAA Division I history in a five-set match. The previous school record was set by Ashley Cudney on Oct. 7, 2006, in a match against Northern Illinois University when she recorded 50. Ashley Mason (Eastlake, Ohio-Lake Catholic) did not let the record-setting day elude her as she tallied 68 assists, the best total in the MAC this season and the third-most in Convocation Center history.
Three Eagles posted double-doubles as Iaquaniello added 18 digs to her 33 kills, Mason put up 20 digs with her 68 assists, and Paige Roback (Maumee, Ohio-Notre Dame Academy) finished with 12 digs and 12 kills.
In the first set, the Eagles fell behind early, 10-4, and were unable to bounce back, ultimately falling 25-16. In the second set, it was the Eagles again fell behind, 12-7, but were able to outscore WMU 18-10 to even the match at 1-1.
The Broncos took a commanding 2-1 lead after the third set by taking a 25-21 decision. In the fourth set, a set which went to extra points, the Eagles were led by Iaquaniello's six kills and four kills by Roback. Mason added 14 assists in the frame and Stein had 15 digs to pace the team defensively. After the Eagles fell down 18-14, they rallied to even the game at 18 apiece. The teams would seesaw back and forth before EMU closed the set on a Roback kill.
In the fifth set, one which saw the teams combine for 44 total points, EMU scored four of the first six points but Western was able to stretch the game out after exchanging points back and forth. An Iaquaniello kill fittingly closed out the game and clinched the hard-fought victory for the Eagles.
The Green and White will take to the court again Saturday, Oct. 9, when the team battles the Huskies of Northern Illinois in a 7 p.m. match at the Convocation Center in Ypsilanti.
Northern Illinois 3, Central Michigan 2
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - For the third time in a row, the Northern Illinois volleyball team found itself in a hard-fought five-set Mid-American Conference match and came out on the winning end. The Huskies scored the key points down the stretch to defeat Central Michigan, 17-25, 32-30, 25-18, 18-25, 15-13, at Finch Fieldhouse on Friday night, extending their winning streak to four.
Despite being on the low end of every stat for only the second time all season, NIU head coach Ray Gooden was proud of the way his team grinded its way to another win away from Victor E. Court.
"It's just another classic conference battle, where sometimes the stats matter and sometimes they don't," said Gooden. "Tonight, they didn't matter except at the end. CMU has a really good team. We made the necessary points at the right times tonight.
"We are still working on trying to do things more consistently. We weren't as consistent as we'd like to be but we'll take this in the long run."
As they have done in each of the prior two contests, the Huskies (18-2, 4-1 MAC) stumbled out of the gate, but eventually found their rhythm. In the comfort of their own home, the Chippewas (7-10, 1-4 MAC) got on top of the Huskies right away, taking a 6-0 lead to start the match. The preseason MAC coaches' pick to win the West Division kept the pressure on, extending the lead to 20-10 to leave NIU reeling and take a 1-0 advantage.
With momentum on CMU's side, the Chippewas kept hounding the Huskies in an important second set for NIU. CMU held a narrow lead for most of the set, until an ace by sophomore defensive specialist Sue Hayes (Evergreen Park, Ill./Mother McAuley) tied the score, 17-17. After each team exchanged three points, sophomore middle blocker Mary Kurisch (LaCrosse, Wis./West Salem) killed a ball and teamed with freshman outside hitter Lauren Wicinski (Geneva, Ill./Geneva) for a block. Out of a CMU timeout, sophomore outside hitter Meghan Romo (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) roped a ball past the defense to put the Huskies in prime position to even the match.
"That second set wasn't necessarily make or break, but it was really good to take advantage of the opportunities that we had," said Gooden. "It was really good and gave us momentum into the third."
However, the Chippewas answered with consecutive kills, and an NIU attack error tied the game, 23-23. The teams then traded scores until NIU finally broke the trend. Wicinski put down a kill and junior setter Kristin Hoffman (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) followed with a dump to end the second longest set of the season for NIU.
After regrouping in the locker room during the break, NIU came out strong in the third set. The Huskies took a 6-2 lead. CMU answered to tie it at 8-8, but it didn't faze NIU, who quickly took command again with a 4-0 run that was capped by a Wicinski putaway. The Huskies then pushed the lead to 19-11 following a pair of kills by Kurisch and Wicinski, along with an ace by senior libero Maddie Hughes (St. Charles, Ill./North). The 5-0 run was too much to overcome for CMU as NIU easily took a 2-1 lead.
In the fourth set, the Chippewas found their mojo once again. With the score tied at 6-6, they went on a 12-6 spurt to open an insurmountable 18-12 lead to force the decisive fifth set.
CMU held a slim 8-7 lead at the turn in the final stanza and would open a two-point lead after an NIU serve error and Chippewa kill. But two CMU errors, one on a serve and the other on a set, erased the advantage. Two swapped points later, back-to-back kills by junior outside hitter Allison McGlaughlin (Morton, Ill./Morton) and freshman middle blocker Sarah Angelos (Waukegan, Ill./Waukegan) gave NIU its fourth road win in a row.
"It was point for point in the fifth set," said Gooden. "No one had more than a two-point lead. We were down but able to come back. We took advantage of a big swing by Allison and an overpass kill by Sarah to give us the match."
Wicinski paced a balanced NIU offense. The nation's ninth-best kills leader and fourth-best server totaled 25 kills and two aces. Angelos tied a season-high with 12 kills and had a .375 hitting percentage. McGlaughlin added 10 putaways along with 11 digs for her fourth double-double. Hoffman was the beneficiary of the trio's output as she tallied 55 assists and was one dig away from reaching double digits.
Defensively, Hughes was all over the court. The reigning MAC Defensive Player of the Year turned in her best performance of the season with 30 digs, marking the third time in her career that she has reached the 30-dig plateau.
"[Maddie's] defensive presence was a key to our success tonight," said Gooden. "She came up with some really big digs for us to be successful."
In MAC-Sports.com's "Game of the Week" the Huskies accomplished two feats that haven't been done in a while. The Last time the Huskies won three five-set contests in a row was in 2006, when they all came on the road. NIU is also off to its first 4-0 start on the road since 1992.
The Huskies finish a three-match road trek tomorrow at 6 p.m. CT against Eastern Michigan (17-5, 4-1 MAC). The Eagles are also coming off a five-set win as they took down Western Michigan at home tonight.
Kent State 3, Miami 1
OXFORD, Ohi-- The Kent State volleyball team used its strongest offensive outing of the 2010 season to collect a key Mid-American Conference East Division victory, downing host Miami, 3-1 (21-25, 25-15, 25-22, 25-16), today (Oct. 8) at Millett Hall.
The Golden Flashes (9-11, 2-3) posted a team season-best .328 attack percentage as junior Liva Brivule (Riga, Latvia) sparked the offensive onslaught with a team season-high 24 kills. Brivule totaled a personal hitting percentage of .340. Sophomore Meredith Paskert (Brecksville, Ohio) joined her in double-digit kills with 12 and achieved a double-double with 10 digs. Freshman Aleksandra Nowak (Damnica, Poland) directed the attack with 42 set assists. Senior Celia Sabo (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) led the defensive effort with five blocks (five assisted) as KSU outblocked the RedHawks (6-12, 1-4), 10-4. Senior Kristen Barr (Bowling Green, Ohio) tallied a team-high 11 digs while Sabo chipped in 10. The Flashes held Miami to a .183 attack percentage.
Miami began the first set with a 10-5 edge, but the Flashes cut the deficit to three at 12-9 with kills by Brivule and redshirt freshman Jessica Ronyak (Burton, Ohio). Two kills and another attack error by the Flashes increased the RedHawks' lead to 15-10, but the Flashes used a 6-4 run highlighted by two kills by Brivule, one apiece by junior Maigan Larsen (Lancaster, Wis. and Nowak and a service ace and a kill by Paskert to pull within three at 19-16. A kill and a ball handling error by Kent State forced the Flashes to talk things over. The Flashes countered out of the timeout with kills by Brivule and Paskert and a double block by Sabo and Brivule, leading the RedHawks to call timeout holding a 22-19 edge. A solo block by Nowak shaved Miami's lead to 22-20, but three more kills by the RedHawks secured the 1-0 match lead.
The Flashes came out flying in the second set, taking a 7-3 advantage and forcing the RedHawks to call timeout with two kills by Nowak, one apiece by Paskert, Sabo and Brivule and a double block by Nowak and Sabo. Kent State used six kills by Brivule to help put together a 10-6 run that put the Flashes ahead 17-9. A double block by Sabo and Jones, another by Paskert and fifth-year senior Brianne Wille (Metamora, Ill.) and kills by Brivule, Nowak and Paskert allowed the Golden Flashes to outscore the RedHawks 8-6 down the stretch and secure the 10-point set win to tie the match at one-all.
Miami took control of the pivotal third set by taking a 12-6 lead in the early going as six errors plagued the Flashes. Back-to-back kills by Brivule and Sabo cut Miami's advantage to 12-8, but the RedHawks answered with a 5-3 scoring stretch that put them up 17-11 and forced KSU to call timeout. KSU came out of the break on fire, as kills by Wille, Sabo and Brivule and a double block by Jones and Sabo made it a three-point set at 19-16. Two kills by the RedHawks put Miami back up by four at 21-17, but a kill and a service ace by Brivule with a Miami attack error in between had the RedHawks clinging to a one-point edge at 21-20. The RedHawks took a timeout, but momentum had decidedly swung in favor of KSU as another Miami attack error made things square. A kill by Nowak gave the Flashes their first lead of the set. Miami knotted the score again thanks to an attack error by the Flashes, but two attack errors with a service ace by Nowak sandwiched in between gave Kent State a huge come-from-behind set victory and a 2-1 match lead.
The Flashes made sure the fourth set wasn't nearly as dramatic as the previous one, breaking a four-all tie with a kill by Larsen to take the lead for good. The RedHawks managed to pull to within one at 9-8, but that's as close as they got as two kills by Paskert, one by Brivule and a double block by Brivule and Nowak put the Flashes ahead 15-11. KSU built its lead up to eight at 21-13 with kills by Paskert, Wille and Brivule. Miami tried to stop the bleeding with a timeout, but it was too late. Two kills by Brivule and another by Paskert secured the big divisional road win for Kent State.
The Flashes head to Bowling Green, Ohio, to take part in another key MAC East clash, facing the Falcons at 7 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 9).
Ohio 3, Bowling Green 1
Bowling Green, Ohio - The Bowling Green State University volleyball team took the opening set from defending Mid-American Conference champion Ohio Friday night but the Bobcats stormed back to take the next three sets and the match 22-25, 25-17, 25-19, 25-20.
Bowling Green hit .452 in the opening set, racking up 15 kills and just one error, but the Falcons could not match that efficiency in the rest of the match. BGSU hit just .182 in the second, .100 in the third, and .069 in the fourth.
The Falcons only trailed on one occasion in the first set, jumping out to a 3-0 lead on a pair of Paige Penrod kills. Ohio took a brief 7-6 lead but a Danielle Tonyan kill tied the score back up, while a Penrod ace put the Falcons back on top. Bowling Green made the decisive run midway through the set, holding a 13-12 lead. A pair of Ohio errors made it 15-12 and Penrod followed with back-to-back kills to make it 17-12. The Falcons held a 24-19 lead when Ohio rallied with three consecutive points but a final Penrod kill put the set away.
In the second set, Ohio jumped out to an 8-1 lead behind some sloppy play from Bowling Green. The Falcons tried to battle back but the Bobcats never let them get closer than five points the rest of the way.
The third set was tied at 15-15 but Ohio scored the next four points and pulled away for the 25-19 win. The fourth set was almost an exact replica of the third as the frame was tied at 16-16 before the Bobcats scored four in a row for the win.
Tonyan and Penrod ended with 16 kills each but no other Falcon had more than five kills. Laura Avila handed out 42 assists and Tonyan and Madison Nitta had two aces each. Penrod and Ashley Herzberg each had 11 digs and Emily Kauth finished with a team-high three blocks.
Ohio improves to 12-6 overall and 4-1 in MAC play. Bowling Green falls to 6-13 overall and 1-4 in the MAC. The Falcons will host Kent State Saturday at 3 p.m.