Eagles Extend Win Streak to Nine, Beat IU-Southeast 3-1
WILMORE, Ky. - Three weeks have gone by since the Eagles first faced off against the IU-Southeast Grenadiers up in New Albany, Ind. The Eagles returned home from that match on the wrong end of a 3-0 sweep.
"I really think that was a turning point in the season for us," head coach JP Rader said before the game. "At that point we just knew it was time to really get into gear and start playing the way we know how."
Well, that's just what Rader and the Eagles have started doing.
The Eagles were 8-1 since that match against Southeast on Sept. 12 headed into tonight's contest, with all eight wins coming after a tough loss to nationally ranked Point Park (Pa.). The Eagles extended that win streak to nine games with a 3-1 win over the visiting Grenadiers (25-21, 19-25, 25-21, 25-21).
The win, however, didn't come as easy as some may think. The Eagles faced large deficits in the third and fourth sets.
In the third set the Eagles and Grenadiers went point-for-point until the game was tied at 16 apiece. Southeast would use some superb play from leading-attcker Sara Schum, however, to rattle off four straight points to take a 20-16 lead.
But the Eagles had other plans in mind as they countered with a 9-1 run--which included three of Catherine Wolter's 14 kills on the night-- of their own to end the set and take a 2-1 lead into the fourth.
The Grenadiers showed poise again as they pounced on the host Eagles once again, this time opening up a seemingly insurmountable 13-4 lead. Nonetheless, the Eagles chipped their way back into set number four in large part to the Grenadiers' Nicole Jones' hitting woes and the blocking of Morgan Newton, Cat Starr, and Rachel Boesing. Newton, Starr, and Boesing teamed up for four blocks resulting in points in a 10-4 run for the Eagles that pulled the game to within two for the Eagles, 17-15.
A kill by Sarah Sterling (15 kills, .227 att-pct) and a miss-hit from the Grenadiers started a 6-0 run for AU that put the game in hand at 21-17. Two kills from Sterling, one from Allison Rehner and then one from Wolter would finish out the set and ultimately the match as the Eagles captured the set 25-21.
Jessie Bartlow (25 assists) and Mackenzie Burke (24 assists) turned in stellar performances as the primary setters for the Eagles. Cari McMullen, Maddie Lewis, and libero Kelly Cole contributed nicely on the defensive side of things as they collectively put together 41 of the team's 60 digs.
The Eagles won't have much time to rest as they will host Berea College tomorrow night (10/2) for each team's second matchup in two weeks. In Berea last week the Eagles captured a 3-0 win. Tomorrow's game is set to begin at 7 p.m. in the Luce Center.