The Ashland University volleyball team lost its second consecutive five-set match on Tuesday (Sept. 4), falling at Urbana, 25-23, 25-20, 15-25, 17-25, 16-14.
The Eagles (7-2) dropped the first two sets, but rebounded with some quality defense to win the next two and force a decisive fifth set.
Ashland forced Urbana to hit minus-.042 in the third frame as the Blue Knights made 13 hitting errors. The Eagles trailed the set, 6-5, before going on a 7-0 run with sophomore McKinley Smith serving to take a 12-6 lead.
Set 4 was tied at 17-17, but the Eagles reeled off the last eight points with senior Reanne Neal serving. Her service ace put AU at set point and junior Shelby Woycik put down the final kill to force the fifth.
The Eagles went down 7-3 and 11-6 at different points in the final set. At 11-6, Ashland got kills from Neal and redshirt-junior Michaela Ping before a UU attacking error made it 11-9.
The Eagles still trailed by two and faced set point at 14-12, but junior Sophi Cudworth nailed a kill, then combined with freshman Erin Krupar on a block to tie it at 14-14. The Blue Knights were able to bounce back after that and get the next two points to win the match.
Cudworth led the Eagles with 18 kills (.233), while Krupar chipped in with 12 kills and seven digs. Senior libero Kaitlin Bean racked up 31 digs on the back row and freshman setter Zoey Peck had a double-double with 43 assists and 16 digs. Peck and Neal each had five blocks.
Ashland out-hit Urbana, .158 to .097, and led in blocks 12-6.
Madison Davis led the Blue Knights (5-4) with 21 kills while Hannah Delor added 17 kills and 14 digs.
The Eagles will return to Kates Gymnasium on Friday (Sept. 7) at 7 p.m. when they take on Davenport in the GLIAC opener.