Sep 7, 2013
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CHICAGO - Marshall volleyball went 1-1 in the UIC Invitational on Saturday. Despite the 3-0 (20-25, 12-25, 17-25) loss to Denver in match one, the Thundering Herd recovered to defeat Chicago State 3-1 (25-14, 25-18, 24-26, 25-9) in the second match of the day.
The Thundering Herd improved to 2-6 on the season, while Denver went to 4-1 on the year and Chicago State slipped to 0-7.
In the first match, Denver came out of the gates charging and took an early 4-0 run. The Pioneers took the first set 25-20. The mishaps continued in the second set, when Denver jumped to a 5-0 lead and took the set 25-12. The Herd continued struggling in its attempts to gain lost ground and the Pioneers took the set three and the match, 25-17.
"We were just not ready to play this morning after a very emotionally draining match last night," Head Coach Mitch Jacobs said. "I put that on myself as we were just out of sync from the start."
The Herd was led by freshman middle blocker Ally Kiekover, who tallied 11 kills, while teammate senior middle blocker Sacha Byous-McConnell, posted a .400 hitting percentage with six kills.
In match two, the Herd came out strong and jumped out in front of Chicago State early. After a tie at five apiece in set one, the Herd took a 20-9 run to take the set 25-14. Marshall carried the momentum into the second set and went up 15-10 before the Cougars rallied to pull the set within two at 19-17. The Marshall squad took six of the last seven points to win the set 25-18.
Marshall continued its dominance in the third set and went up 21-15 over Chicago State. The Cougars battled back to tie the set at 22. After trading points, CSU took the set 26-24.
The Herd dictated the fourth set and ensured its win after a quick 14-4 lead, followed with a 25-9 set and match win.
The Marshall squad outhit Chicago State .287-.124 in the four-set victory. The Herd also controlled the nets, out blocking CSU 6-3.
"It was great to see our team get pumped up to play the final match tonight, when they really could have used our struggles as a crutch not to," Jacobs added. "CSU is not as bad as their record, and I know we aren't either. So it was both teams trying to get something going. I'm glad we were able to come through."
Senior middle blocker Sacha Byous-McConnell led the Herd with 15 kills and an incredible .789 hitting percentage. She was named to the UIC Invitational All-Tournament Team for her efforts.
"Individually, Sacha (Byous-McConnell) had a fantastic offensive tourney and deserved to be named to the all-tournament team," Jacobs added. "There were other good individual efforts, but the most important thing we focus on now is gaining team continuity."
The Herd opens its home schedule on Tuesday at 7 p.m. by welcoming in Atlantic Sun Conference foe East Tennessee State to the Henderson Center.
"I'm looking forward to finally playing at home Tuesday night, Jacobs added. "We are really excited to get in front of a friendly crowd."