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VU Volleyball picks up 4 wins in Vincennes Challenge
 September 9, 2013

Trailblazers notch straight-sets victories in 3 of 4 matches

The Vincennes University Volleyball Team picked up a pair of wins each day on Friday and Saturday during the Vincennes Challenge at the VU P.E. Complex by topping Danville Area in the event’s first match Friday and then grinding out a four-set victory against Southwestern Illinois before notching straight-sets wins over Indiana Tech and Ancilla on the second day.

VU is now 10-3 on the season.

In the Trailblazers’ 25-11, 25-12, 25-21 win over Danville Area on Friday, the first set was tight early until VU (8-3) scored five straight points to open up a 9-3 cushion. Following a timeout precipitated by a couple smashes by VU sophomore Kiara Cruz, the Jaguars outscored the Trailblazers 8-3 but VU then responded and retook command for the win.

The second set against the Jaguars started with VU getting out to a 6-0 lead, partially fueled by a Megan Kelsay ace. Danville battled back to within 11-7 but VU eventually earned a 21-9 advantage to register a second win.

The Jaguars started the third set with a 4-2 lead and held an advantage until Vu sophomore Kristen Murphy’s kill tied it at 7-7. The Trailblazers then took their first lead at 9-8. The final set stayed close until VU stretched the lead to four and maintained it the rest of the way to close out the match.

In VU’s second match Friday, vs. Southwestern Illinois, the Trailblazers never enjoyed much breathing room but gutted out a 25-21, 25-16, 25-27, 25-14 win.

The first set found VU trailing 13-9, but the Trailblazers put together a run to knot it up at 13-all. The score was also tied at 15-15 and 17-17 before VU’s four straight points provided a 21-17 lead. The Blue Storm scored a couple points to tighten it up and scored again when the Trailblazers were at game-point to make it interesting before VU finished it off 25-21 on a kill by Cruz.

In the second set, VU led 18-10 when a Trailblazer serving error gave Southwestern Illinois a chance and the Blue Storm capitalized to pull within 19-13. VU managed to make the lead stand up and Ariana Kuhn put one away for the winner at 25-16.

Set No. 3 continued the same theme. The Trailblazers and Blue Storm were tied at 12-all before VU battled to a 17-16 lead. The lead was short-lived, however, as Southwestern Illinois clawed in front at 20-18. Two straight points by VU tied it again at 20-all and the Blue Storm called timeout.

VU lost a 23-21 lead and wound up tied with Southwestern Illinois at 24-all before Kristen Murphy’s kill staked the Trailblazers to a 25-24 lead. The Blue Storm then scored three unanswered points to register its lone victory of the match.

In the decisive fourth set, VU finally managed to lead most of the way for the 25-14 win to close out the hard-fought match.

The Trailblazers and Indiana Tech started Saturday morning’s match by trading serving errors and then VU scored five straight points, including a Becca Garrison ace, on the way to building a 13-4 early lead in Game 1. Another six-point Trailblazer run later put VU up 19-5 and the Trailblazers had extended it to 21-6 when the Warriors called their second timeout to try to stop the VU momentum. The break didn’t alter the Trailblazers’ surge and VU closed it out 25-6.

In Game 2 vs. Indiana Tech, the Trailblazers jumped out to another early lead, enjoying a 9-3 advantage before the Warriors answered with four straight to pull within 14-10. But VU responded and another Garrison ace left the Trailblazers leading 20-12. VU went on to win easily by a 25-13 score.

Kuhn opened Game 3 with a kill and VU continued the early-game success that had characterized the first two as the Trailblazers scored six unanswered points to start things before Indiana Tech got on the board. A Kuhn ace made it 11-2 and VU also led 16-5. The Trailblazers then relied on a 7-2 run, which included an ace by Amanda Freel, to lead 23-7 en route to a 25-9 win to close out the match.

Later in the day, VU and Ancilla were tied at 7-all early in Game 1 of their match, but VU pulled away for some breathing room as Kuhn and Emily Murphy combined on a pair of blocks to help the Trailblazers to a 16-10 advantage at one point. VU maintained the cushion and Cruz hammered a kill to help the Trailblazers to a 21-14 lead that evolved into the final 25-20 verdict in VU’s favor.

Game 2 was close all the way, with VU leading much of the game until Ancilla battled back to tie it at 19-all and then take the lead at 20-19. Following a flurry of ties and lead changes, the Trailblazers went back ahead, 25-24, on an Emily Murphy kill. A second straight kill by Murphy provided the final score of 26-24 and put VU up 2-0.

VU won the match with a 25-21 decision in Game 3. The Trailblazers led 12-6 before the Chargers’ 10-4 run put Ancilla in a 16-16 tie with the Trailblazers. Timeout was called with VU up 22-20 and, after the break, VU held Ancilla to a single point on the way to the win.

The Trailblazers will travel to Mattoon, IL, Wednesday to face Lake Land. That match is set for 7 p.m. (“Vincennes time”) VU will continue on the road, playing in the Illinois Central College Tournament on Friday and Saturday in East Peoria, IL.

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