ASHLAND, Ohio – After a two-hour ride to Tiffin on Friday (Sept. 23) night, it seemed like the AU volleyball team was a little tight getting off the bus.
The Dragons won the first set, 25-17. That defeat shook the Eagles loose as they went on to sweep the next three sets in a 3-1 win (17-25, 25-16, 25-21, 25-19).
Neither team was particularly efficient offensively, the Eagles out-hitting the Dragons, .113 to .085.
Ashland got the defense it needed in the final three sets. After the Dragons hit a dazzling .429 in the first set, the Eagles put the clamps on, limiting the Dragons to a negative-.010 for the rest of the match.
Freshman Kathy Fletcher (West Chicago, Ill./Community) led the Eagles offensively with 11 kills. Sophomore Susie Jonas (Harrison, Ohio) hit .385 with seven kills and senior Anesia Benton (Lima, Ohio/Senior) had eight kills. Junior Brittany Snider (Olmsted Falls, Ohio) added seven kills and an ace.
In the first set, the Eagles fell behind early, 5-0, and never recovered.
The Dragons (1-10, 1-5 GLIAC) started the second set with a kill by Erin Turner, but AU rallied for six straight points – all on attacking errors by the Dragons – with freshman Alyx Crislip (Louisville, Ohio) serving. One of those missed attacks was blocked by Jonas and junior Crystal Elliott (Canal Winchester, Ohio). Fletcher was 5-for-6 attacking the set with no errors.
The Eagles (7-3, 5-1 GLIAC) raced to an 8-0 lead in the third set with senior Arian Martin (Independence, Ohio) serving. AU got three kills from Benton in the third set.
The fourth set was a tight battle at the outset with the score knotted at 10-10 at one point. The Eagles scored three straight points from there, including one on a kill by Crislip. AU ended the match on a kill by sophomore Baley Bernthisel (Grand Rapids, Ohio/Otsego).
Elliott finished the match with a double-double (32 assists, 11 digs) while Martin led AU in the back row with 18 digs. Crislip had three total blocks (two solo) to go along with her six kills.
Turner led the Dragons with 10 kills and Lindsay Heller piled up 24 digs on the back line. Tiffany Buchinger had 32 assists and five digs.
The Eagles travel to Ohio Dominican on Saturday (Sept. 24) afternoon for a GLIAC South match. First serve is set for 2 p.m.