Eagles Take Down No. 25 Red Wolves, Dismantle Berea
WILMORE, Ky. – In a match where both teams came in with 25 wins on the season, Asbury came out on top, knocking off No. 25 Indiana East in five thrilling sets to take firm grasp of first-place in the KIAC. This was the Eagles’ first ever win over a top 25 ranked team. Asbury would go on to beat Berea and now sits at 9-0 in the KIAC, the lone unbeaten team.
Asbury (27-4, 9-0 KIAC) came back to win both of the first two sets against the Red Wolves in the day’s first match, 25-23 and 25-21. In that first set no one ever led by more than two points as both teams kept trading side outs. In the second, the Red Wolves (26-6, 9-1 KIAC) would grab leads of 14-10 and 19-16 but Asbury would win eight of the last nine points to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.
The teams would once again trade points for much of the third set as Asbury looked to be on the verge of sweeping the Red Wolves, but after the Eagles tied it at 19-19 IUE would win four straight points to take a 23-19 lead and would go on to win 25-21. Indiana East would take the fourth easily 25-13 before the fifth reverted back to the first three sets. Neither team would win more than three points in a row in the fifth, but Asbury would take the last three as the match would end at 16-14 after an error was called by the official on Caitlin Burroughs.
Senior Lindsay Ibold set a career high with 18 kills in the match, leading one of four Eagles in double-digits. Allison Rehner added 14 kills as Brittney Rader and Dena Busse each added 11. The Eagles hit .217 for the match, much lower than their season mark of .278 which ranked 12th in the NAIA coming into the match. The Red Wolves came in 9th in the NAIA in hitting at .287 and hit .264 for the match as Brianna Strete led the way with 20 kills.
The match also would feature two of the top five individual attackers in the NAIA, Asbury’s Ibold who ranked 2nd coming in and IUE’s Paige Lay who was 4th. Lay would record 11 kills with a .230 mark, she’s hitting .419 on the season. Ibold’s 18 kills were in 31 attempts as she hit .419 for the match, much closer to her season mark of .437.
Mackenzie Burke would record 38 assists in the match, her most since the opening weekend of the season when she had 43 against Rio Grande on August 27th. Jessie Bartlow would add 17 and 10 digs becoming the first Eagle this year to record a double-double. IUE’s Lauren Crump, who leads the NAIA in assists, would register 60 in the match. Kelly Cole would lead Asbury with 21 digs.
Asbury would go on to defeat Berea 3-0 (25-7, 25-9, 25-6) as they set a school-record with 22 service aces. Freshman Alyssa Downs set a career-high with seven of her own. Burke and Cole would each add five as six different players recorded an ace. Asbury hit .509 in the match as they committed only four errors in the match. Rehner led the way with nine kills as Burke added 16 assists.
The Eagles have won 14 straight matches, besting their 12-match streak earlier in the season and closing in on their school record of 18 set last year. Asbury has won 21 straight regular-season KIAC matches dating back to the 2009 season. This is the first year of double round-robin play in the KIAC but Asbury has already won more conference games (9) this year than they have in any other season in school history.
Asbury will travel to Richmond, Ind. for the return match against the Red Wolves on Wednesday October 26th. The Eagles will take on Indiana Southeast at home on Monday in another KIAC match at 7 p.m. Asbury beat the Grenadiers in four earlier in the season.