The Ashland University volleyball team won a pair of four-set matches on Friday (Aug. 24) to open the 2018 campaign at the Ashland Invitational at Kates Gymnasium. The Eagles toppled Shippensburg in the opener and Malone in the nightap.
They were the first wins in the AU career of first-year head coach Kevin Foeman, who took over the program four months ago.
"They kept their energy at a high level," Foeman said. "Whether we were losing points or winning points, they kept it at a consistent level. And they make adjustments really fast, so if we tell them to make a change, they're making it right away. They did a good job of being coachable, playing hard and playing together."
Ashland def. Shippensburg, 25-15, 25-21, 14-25, 25-16
Ashland jumped out to a 13-4 lead in Set 1, getting six kills from senior Reanne Neal in that stretch. Neal would finish with seven kills in the frame and 12 in the match. She hit .417 overall.
In Set 2, the Eagles buckled down defensively by holding Shippensburg to a .042 hitting percentage. Woycik and Krupar combined for 10 kills in the set.
With a 2-0 lead, the Eagles had a letdown in the third set, but rebounded in the fourth with a balanced attack that saw the Eagles hit .308. Five players had multiple kills, led by Krupar's five, and seven players had multiple digs.
Woycik, a returning All-GLIAC first team selection, finished with 17 kills (.262) and 11 digs while Krupar had 16 kills (.233) and a team-high 20 digs.
Junior Sophi Cudworth added eight kills (.348) without committing an error. Senior Kaitlin Bean had 18 digs and sophomore McKinley Smith notched 10 digs. Redshirt-junior Michaela Ping totaled six kills and six blocks.
Freshman Zoey Peck just missed a double-double in her collegiate debut with 47 assists and nine digs.
Morgan DeFloria paced the Raiders with 15 kills and Megan Forstburg had a match-high 25 digs.
Ashland def. Malone, 18-25, 25-12, 25-17, 25-10
In their second match of the day, the Eagles stumbled out of the gate as Malone won the opening set. It was all Ashland after that.
AU rolled to a 5-0 lead with Krupar serving early in Set 2 and turned an 11-7 advantage into a 21-8 lead with a 10-1 run. Neal's kill closed the set at 25-12.
Peck's service gave Ashland a 4-0 lead in the opening points of Set 3. Ashland built its lead to 10-2 before the Pioneers (1-1) battled back to 12-10. The Eagles closed the set with a 9-3 run.
The Eagles were totally dominant in the final set, hitting .394 and holding Malone to a minus-.029 mark.
Woycik led the Eagles with 15 kills (.361) and added 15 digs for her second double-double. Krupar (13 kills, 11 digs) and Peck (40 assists, 14 digs) also had double-doubles for the Eagles, who hit .265 as a team while limiting Malone to .099.
Bean led the back row with 21 digs and Smith added 11. Neal had nine kills (.471).
The Eagles will wrap up play in the Ashland Invitational on Saturday (Aug. 25) against Nova Southeastern (2 p.m.) and Bellarmine (7 p.m.).