The Ashland University volleyball team ran its season-opening winning streak to six on Friday (Sept. 8) with a pair of four-set wins over Pittsburg State and Christian Brothers at the Middle of Everywhere Tournament in Rolla, Mo. The event is hosted by Missouri S&T.
It is the first time since 2004 the Eagles have started the season with a 6-0 record. They will have the opportunity to get to eight in a row on Saturday (Sept. 9) with matches against host Missouri S&T (10:30 a.m. ET) and a to-be-determined team (time TBA).
Ashland def. Pittsburg State – 25-21, 20-25, 25-21, 25-19
While the Eagles never hit below .282 in their first four matches of the season at the Quality Inn Ashland University Tournament, the Pittsburg State Gorillas cooled off the Eagles' offense.
AU hit .226 in the match, but it didn't matter as the Eagles held Pitt State to a .167 hitting average.
The Eagles trailed the first set of the match by five, 16-11, before racking up six straight points with junior defensive specialist Kaitlin Bean on the serve to take a 17-16 lead. The Eagles would go on for the win after a PSU attacking error.
After dropping the second set, the Eagles never trailed in the third and fourth frames to secure the win.
Sophomore outside hitter Shelby Woycik led the attackers with a double-double of 21 kills and 12 digs while hitting .208. Junior middle Reanne Neal and redshirt-sophomore middle Michaela Ping added 11 kills apiece. Sophomore middle/outside Sophi Cudworth added up nine kills.
Noelle Dooley led the Gorillas (2-3) with 15 kills (.430) and Lauren Maisberger had a match-high 20 digs.
Ashland def. Christian Brothers – 25-23, 25-23, 23-25, 25-20 (Box Score)
The Eagles never trailed in the first set against the Bucs (3-3) and fought off a late rally to sustain a 25-23 win. Woycik broke a 23-23 tie with a kill to take the Eagles to set point before Neal pounded a service ace to get the win.
Again in the second, the Bucs rallied late to get within one point on multiple occasions, but Ping knocked down a kill on set point to give AU a 2-0 lead.
After dropping a close third set, Ashland trailed Set 4, 14-11, before scoring five straight points to take a 16-14 lead with Smith serving. AU maintained the lead the rest of the way.
Woycik led the team with 19 kills and three aces while hitting .250. She also added 13 digs. Neal tucked away eight kills, hitting .500 with three aces and three blocks. Cudworth had nine kills (.238) as the Eagles hit .281 as a team.
Four players were in double figures in digs, led by Smith's 14. Bean and Aguayo had 13 digs each. Freshman setter Kalie Apelt dished out a team-leading 30 assists and had four kills and four digs without committing a hitting error.
Emma Lenoir led the Bucs with 19 kills, but Ashland limited her to a .158 hitting percentage.