Eagles come up short in KIAC Championship
OWENSBORO, Ky. – For the third consecutive year Asbury and Indiana East met in the KIAC Tournament Championship match, and for the second year in a row the Eagles lost to the Red Wolves in four sets.
Asbury (32-3) came from behind to win the first set 27-25 but struggled all match long with their passing and dropped the next three 25-16, 25-14, 25-19. Dena Busse led the team with 13 kills in the match and Lindsay Ibold recorded 11 kills and four total blocks. The Eagles handed IUE their lone KIAC loss during the regular season in a match they were also behind 2-1 after taking the first set.
The Red Wolves were just too much to overcome on this day as they pulled away after the Eagles tied the fourth set at 12-all. IUE showed why they lead the NAIA in attack percentage, hitting .356 as a team for the day. Asbury was only able to hit .132 as they struggled to pass off the Red Wolves’ attack.
Asbury beat Cincinnati Christian in three sets earlier in the day in the first semi-final 25-20, 25-15, 25-21 to tie the school record with 32 wins. The Eagles were led by Ibold’s 13 kills and Brittney Rader’s 12. Mackenzie Burke tied a season high with 25 assists and Hannah Wheeler added 19 digs. Dena Busse recorded seven total blocks in the match.
The Eagles will wait to see if they receive an at-large bid to the NAIA National Tournament. If they don’t, then they could still go to the NCCAA Mid-East Regional Tournament next weekend for a chance to make the NCCAA National Tournament.