EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) – University of Southern Indiana Volleyball (0-9, 0-0 OVC) completed the Chattanooga Classic with a 3-1 (25-19, 15-25, 19-25, 15-25) loss to Duquesne University (2-8) Saturday afternoon at Maclellan Gym. The Screaming Eagles won the opening frame but watched the Dukes win three-straight sets to snap its’s five-match losing skid.
USI used an all-around effort to win the opening set, 25-19. Duquesne started with a 2-0 lead before junior outside hitter Leah Anderson (Bloomington, Illinois) kicked things off for the Eagles, knocking down three kills to help USI tie it at five apiece. After a pair of attack errors from the Dukes and a couple of kills from junior outside/right side/setter Katherine Koch (Belleville, Illinois), the Eagles gained a two-point advantage. Sophomore outside/right side hitter Abby Bednar (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) tallied back-to-back kills to spark a 7-2 USI surge to extend to a 19-13 gap. Despite a late comeback from Duquesne, the Eagles held onto the lead thanks to a set-ending service ace from Koch. USI ended the set with 12 kills, two aces, and a .276 hitting percentage.
Duquesne, however, used an early 7-0 run to secure a 25-15 second set victory. With USI holding to a 5-3 lead, the Dukes plotted a 7-0 surge that ended with a Duquesne five-point advantage. Sophomore middle hitter Paris Downing (Avon, Indiana) was able to stop the Dukes’ impressive run with a kill before Koch and sophomore outside hitter Abby Weber (Fishers, Indiana) each tallied a kill to put the Eagles within three. Strategic runs by Duquesne put USI in a hole, leading to a 17-10 gap. Weber and Anderson provided a pair of kills each, but it was not enough to stop the raging Dukes from handing USI its first loss of the match. The Eagles provided 12 kills but lost traction due to nine attack errors.
The Dukes used its second-set momentum to conquer the third frame, 25-19. USI took an early 3-1 lead before Duquesne went on an 8-1 surge to hold a 9-4 advantage. The Dukes piled on the points, but sophomore middle blocker Lauren O’Neill (Covington, Indiana) tried to stop the bleeding with one of her three kills in the set. The Eagles went on a short run due to two Duquesne attack errors and an Anderson kill to cut the deficit to just five. The Dukes would not back down and secure the set win and claim a one-set lead over USI.
The Eagles watched the Dukes walk away with a 25-15 match-sealing win in the fourth set. USI began the frame with an ace from junior libero/defensive specialist Audrey Crowder (Avon, Indiana) and a kill from Downing before Duquesne retaliated with three kills of his own. With the score knotted up at four, the Dukes went on a short surge before Weber’s kill ended the streak. Despite being within one, USI allowed Duquesne to spark another run, this time a 5-0 stint to double up the Eagles, 12-6. Back-to-back kills from Weber kept USI in the match but the Dukes kept pulling away, eventually reaching a 21-12 lead. Downing, O’Neill, and sophomore setter Carly Sobieralski (Indianapolis, Indiana) each tallied a kill in the final moments of the set before Duquesne sealed the Eagles’ fate.
Anderson led the charge for USI, securing 14 kills, while Koch nabbed a career-high tying three aces. Downing stood tall for the Eagles at the net, tallying a career-high seven blocks. Koch led the passing game for USI by tabbing 22 assists while Crowder was the lone Eagle with double-digit digs, recording 10.
As a team, USI had 43 kills, four aces, and 34 assists to go along with 10 blocks and 47 digs. The Eagles put up an impressive first-set stat line with 12 kills and a .276 hitting percentage. USI matched its kills count in the second set but doubled its error margin, recording a match-high nine attack errors that led to a .088 attacking percentage. The Eagles’ third frame ended with 10 kills and eight errors while set four saw nine kills and five errors leading to a .130 hitting percentage for the match.
NEXT UP FOR THE EAGLES:
The Eagles will compete in the NIU Tri-Match in Dekalb, Illinois next Friday and Saturday. USI will battle the University of Rhode Island Friday at 11 am before taking on Northern Illinois University Saturday at 11 am This will be the final non-conference match of the season for the Eagles.
Courtesy: USI Athletics
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