The Ashland University volleyball team used a blistering attack and solid defense to snap a brief two-match losing streak and upend Purdue Northwest in straight sets, 25-19, 25-10, 25-20, on Friday (Nov. 3) in GLIAC action in Westville, Ind.
The Eagles (14-11, 7-7 GLIAC) made quick work of the Pride (6-22, 1-12 GLIAC) as they continued to inch closer to a GLIAC Tournament berth with two conference matches remaining. AU currently sits in one of the league's two wild card positions and one match behind Tiffin (8-6 GLIAC) for an automatic berth as one of the top three teams in the GLIAC South.
On Friday, the Eagles got off to a great start and never looked back. AU scored 11 of the match's first 13 points, much of the run coming on a great serving run by sophomore Shelby Woycik, who had a tremendous all-around game. The outside hitter finished with a match-high 17 kills while hitting an efficient .469. She committed just two errors on 32 swings.
The Eagles closed the second set on an 8-0 run with freshman Kali Apelt dealing from the service line. AU finished the frame with kills by redshirt-sophomore Michaela Ping, senior Kayla Pfeiffer and Woycik.
Ashland trailed the third set by as many as three at 15-12, but AU scored the next four points on Apelt's service run to take a 16-15 lead. Ashland took the lead for good at 20-19 on a kill by freshman Zoie Franklin. An attacking error by the hosts ended the match in AU's favor.
Woycik added 10 digs to her 17 kills for a double-double, her 13th of the season. Ping also showed incredible efficiency, hitting .591 with 15 kills on just 22 attacks. She committed just two errors and contributed four blocks. Franklin finished with seven kills (.182) and 13 digs.
Apelt had a double-double with 37 assists, 12 digs and four blocks, while freshman McKinley Smith chipped in 12 digs.
Gabrielle Martin led the Pride with nine kills (.156) as the Eagles held Purdue Northwest to a .143 hitting percentage.
The Eagles will continue their GLIAC road swing on Saturday (Nov. 4) with a 5 p.m. match at Davenport.