ASHLAND, Ohio – Four Ashland players finished with double-digit kills, led by freshman Kate Eckels (Loveland, Ohio/Mt. Notre Dame), as the AU volleyball team beat Findlay, 3-1 (25-22, 19-25, 26-24, 30-28), on Friday (Oct. 29) night at Kates Gymnasium.
The Eagles (16-9, 9-7 GLIAC) picked up a win in the first set, which was close throughout. The score was tied as late as 22-22, but the Oilers (11-13, 5-10 GLIAC) committed three straight errors to hand AU the win.
Ashland took a 14-9 lead in the second set, but the Oilers went on a 6-0 run to take a 15-14 lead they would not give back.
It looked as if the Eagles were doomed in the third set, trailing, 23-19. Eckels picked up two straight kills, followed by one by freshman Baley Bernthisel (Grand Rapids, Ohio/Otsego) to push the score to 23-22. Findlay earned a side-out with a kill by Brittany Hoelscher, but Bernthisel scored again to make it 24-23. That's when junior Anesia Benton (Lima, Ohio/Senior) came up with three straight mega-kills for the 26-24 win in Set 3.
Ashland battled from behind in the fourth set, but came away with the win. AU fought off a set point at 24-20, but the Eagles got two kills from freshman Susannah Jonas (Harrison, Ohio), an ace by junior Arian Martin (Independence, Ohio) and a bad set by the Oilers to tie the set at 24-24.
The teams traded points, with each fighting off two set points, until the Eagles took advantage of two Findlay errors for the fourth-set win.
Eckels led the Eagles with a career-high 20 kills. Jonas also had a career-high with 14 kills. It was her first career double-digit kill game. Benton finished with 14 kills and senior Sophie Paddock (Girard, Ohio/Hubbard) matched her season-high with 11 kills. Paddock hit .625 in the match, going 11-for-16 with just one error. She has only two errors in her last seven matches and is hitting .396 this season.
Sophomore setter Crystal Elliott (Canal Winchester, Ohio) had a match-high 57 assists and added six digs. Martin had a match-high 27 digs, leading a cast of four with double-digit dig totals: Jonas (14), Eckels (11) and senior Lauren Schweitzer (Dublin, Ohio/Bishop Watterson) (10).
The Oilers were led by Jessica VonIns, who totaled 14 kills and added 18 assists. Megan Florence was the lead setter, finishing with 30 assists. Danielle Taflinger finished with 11 kills and six block assists.
The Ashland win avenged a five-set loss to the Oilers earlier this season.
The Eagles play their home finale on Saturday (Oct. 30) when they host No. 10 Hillsdale at 1 p.m. at Kates Gymnasium. The Chargers (22-1, 16-0 GLIAC), after beating Lake Erie on Friday, have won 21 straight matches.