Volleyball takes one of three matches

By Zane Miller and By Zane Miller

The Falcons volleyball team played three straight matches of five-set volleyball at the Northern Kentucky University Invitational in Highland Heights, Kentucky. They first played on Friday in a loss to the Sacramento State Hornets 3-2, then lost to the Seattle Redhawks 3-2 in the first match of a Saturday doubleheader and lastly defeated the Northern Kentucky Norse 3-2 in the second game Saturday.

The Falcons started out strong on Friday, winning the first set against Sacramento State 27-25. However, Sacramento State rebounded to win the second set 25-21. The back and forth match continued as the Falcons took the next set 25-21, but a 26-24 victory by Sacramento State in the fourth set up a fifth set. Despite the teams being close at the beginning of the set, Sacramento State was able to pull away, claiming the match with a 15-8 victory.

“We had a 23-19 in the fourth set and couldn’t finish the set,” Falcons head coach Danijela Tomic said. “Our service team broke down, we made some unforced errors. We couldn’t find a way to score, we allowed them to get back in it and we lost that set … that’s the one that hurts the most because we had our chances to get those two points.”

Despite the loss, freshman outside hitter Jacqueline Askin set a team season high with 18 kills in the match, and several of the newer players stepped up.

“This is the first match we’ve had five players with double digit kills,” Tomic said. “Jacqueline (Askin) had a double-double in digs and kills and an outstanding hitting percentage. Katie Kidwell, our other freshman, had ten kills. Celena (Kanagin), our sophomore, had an outstanding match, too, so there were a lot of positives.”

On Saturday, the Falcons again had a promising start, winning the first two sets 28-26 and 25-12, respectively. Seattle made a charge in the third and fourth, though, winning both sets 25-18 to stay in the match and force another fifth set. Seattle completed the comeback with a 15-10 victory to win the match.

“Seattle started playing better, and we didn’t adjust,” Tomic said. “They took us out of system and we didn’t execute our game plan. We didn’t stop their outside hitter, we got tentative, and that’s the name of the story.”

In the second match of Saturday’s doubleheader against the tournament host, Northern Kentucky, the team started out by winning their fourth straight opening set 25-22, then took the second set 25-23. However, like the previous match, Northern Kentucky scored two set wins of their own, 25-16 and 25-21. The Falcons were able to stop the comeback attempt in the fifth set with a 15-8 victory.

The team will next play in the Virginia Commonwealth University Invitational in Richmond, Virginia, on Friday against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams, then on Saturday in a doubleheader against the Northwestern Wildcats and Seton Hall Pirates.