INDIANAPOLIS – The Ashland University volleyball team finished polished off two more four-set wins on Saturday (Oct. 19) to go 3-0 at the Midwest Region Crossover. It was an impressive feat for the Eagles, who faced strong competition from the GLVC and G-MAC as the GLIAC's No. 4 seed in the event.
The last time Ashland went 3-0 at the Crossover was in 2016. It was the fourth time Ashland has gone unbeaten at the tournament.
"Man, the girls fought," said second-year head coach Kevin Foeman. "There's not many teams that can go 3-0. It was a great weekend. It's great for us to do really well here, and for the GLIAC to do really well."
Redshirt-junior Brooke Peiffer recorded her 1,000th career kill in Saturday's second match, putting it down in a crucial spot as the Eagles surged ahead in the fourth set against Indianapolis. Peiffer is in her second season with Ashland, but her first on the court after missing last season due to NCAA transfer rules. She started her career playing for Foeman for two seasons at Lake Erie.
"I've known her since she was 14 and she followed me here," Foeman said. "Her getting to 1,000 kills is a great milestone. I'm so proud of her and everyone who helped her get that. I'm glad her team was so excited for her. It came at a big moment too. She didn't play too well in the second set and we challenged her."
"It really means a lot," Peiffer said. "I can't thank my coaches enough, I can't thank my teammates enough. We all put in so much work and it's rewarding."
The Eagles (18-4) battled in hard-fought sets throughout the weekend to grind out the three wins. They dropped the first set in each of their first two matches, then lost the second set in Saturday's finale.
"We came in saying 'we're winning this weekend, no other outcomes,'" Peiffer said. "That's what we did. We worked hard together. Every game was so close, so to come out with a win like that I'm so proud of our team."
Ashland def. Bellarmine – 21-25, 25-20, 33-31, 28-26
The Eagles won a wild match against Bellarmine in their opener on Saturday with the final two sets going into extra points.
Just as in their first match in the Crossover on Friday, the Eagles dropped the first set only to rebound and pick up the win in Set 2.
The third and fourth sets were hotly contested with each featuring 11 tie scores and five lead changes.
In Set 3, the Eagles fought off set point at 25-23, then took a 26-25 lead on a block by sophomore Erin Krupar. The Knights (14-7) then battled back from set point four straight times and tied the match at 30. Bellarmine took a 31-30 lead on an Ashland error, but Peiffer put down a kill to tie the set.
An attacking error by the Knights gave the Eagles the lead before junior Zoie Franklin put down her first kill of the season to send Ashland to the fourth set with a 2-1 advantage.
In the fourth set, the Knights had set points at 24-23 and 25-24, but got kills by senior Sophi Cudworth and Krupar, respectively to tie the set. Krupar's kill gave the Eagles a 26-25 lead, but Bellarmine tied it again at 26.
Peiffer led the Eagles with 18 kills (.200) and eight digs, while Lombardo (.441) and Cudworth (.355) added 15 kills each. Krupar had 10 kills (.231).
Junior libero led the Eagles with 21 digs and sophomore Sophie Dahn added 14.
The Eagles had a 10-6 lead in blocks, led by redshirt-freshman Chelsey Farris, who totaled seven.
Jayme Scott led the Knights with 19 kills and 19 digs.
Ashland def. Indianapolis – 25-22, 15-25, 25-21, 25-18
For the first time on the weekend, the Eagles won their first set against the Greyhounds (14-6). In the second set, Indianapolis hit .471 to even it up.
The Eagles trailed in Set 3, 15-14, but scored the next four points on Peck's kill, a block by Farris and Peiffer, then another block by Farris and Cudworth.
The Greyhounds worked it back to a tie at 19, but the Eagles again went on a 3-0 run spurred by Cudworth's kill and a block by Lombardo and Krupar. The Eagles posted 11 blocks in the match.
A kill and another double block ended the set at 25-21.
The fourth set was tied at 14, but an 8-0 run by Ashland with Peck on the serve put the Eagles in total command. Krupar's kill ended the match at 25-18.
Peiffer had six of her 16 kills (.196) in the fourth set and Cudworth also posted 16 kills (.419) to lead the Eagles. Peck finished with 49 assists and nine digs and Krupar came up with 12 kills (.195).
Smith finished with 26 digs and averaged six digs per set on the weekend – the second-most in the tournament.
The Eagles out-hit the Greyhounds, .251 to .249.
Ashland will return home next Friday (Oct. 25) at 7 p.m. against Northwood at Kates Gymnasium. The following night Ashland will battle the GLIAC North's top team, Ferris State, at 5 p.m.