ASHLAND, Ohio – On Tuesday (Oct. 26) afternoon a raging storm blew through Ashland, sending branches, leaves and most loose objects into the air.
On Tuesday night, the Lake Erie Storm entered Kates Gymnasium, but the AU volleyball team was the rock that wouldn't budge in the storm. The Eagles turned away the Storm in straight sets, 25-17, 25-5, 25-19.
The Eagles (15-8, 8-6 GLIAC) dominated the match, finishing with a season-high 12 aces and limiting the Storm (4-21, 1-13 GLIAC) to a .026 hitting percentage, a season-low for an AU opponent.
Ashland hit .277 in the match, led by senior middle hitter Sophie Paddock (Girard, Ohio/Hubbard), who finished a perfect 9-for-9 in the match. Sophomore Brittany Snider (Olmsted Falls, Ohio) had a match-high 16 kills and hit .229 with eight digs.
Freshman Kate Eckels (Loveland, Ohio/Mt. Notre Dame) finished with seven kills in 20 attacks with just three errors.
Sophomore setter Crystal Elliott (Canal Winchester, Ohio) had a match-high 21 assists and was also added two kills. Senior setter Lauren Schweitzer (Dublin, Ohio/Bishop Watterson) had 14 assists and five digs. Junior Arian Martin (Independence, Ohio) finished with a match-high 12 digs.
The Eagles led the first set wire-to-wire after jumping out to a 7-0 advantage to open the match with Eckels on the serve. With Jamie Hoppe serving, Lake Erie got five points back, but Ashland carried its lead to the end.
Ashland pieced together its most dominant defensive set of the season in the second game, limiting the Storm to just one kill and five points overall. Lake Erie was 1-for-17 with seven errors in the set.
The Storm opened the third set with four straight points, but Ashland fought back and took the lead at 7-6. The game was tied, 10-10, at one point, but with Eckels on the serve again, the Eagles reeled off five straight points to take control.
Jamie Hoppe led the Storm with six kills and Lauren Bogatay added 11 assists.
Ashland has three home matches remaining on its schedule, all to be played this week. The next match is Thursday (Oct. 28) at Kates Gymnasium, where the Eagles will host Wayne State, which AU beat, 3-0, in Detroit earlier this season. The match is set to start at 7 p.m.