Exploiting inconsistency by the Rangers, Southern Indiana’s senior sensation Ashley Hendricks and company stifle a late Parkside rally.
Showcasing their tenth Great Lakes Valley Conference match-up, the women’s volleyball squad of UW-Parkside (4-6) (20-9) hosted University of Southern Indiana (5-4) (12-12) at DeSimone Gymnasium in Kenosha Saturday afternoon.
Featuring a five-set thriller in which the Rangers came back from down 1-2, erratic execution prevented Parkside from completing the comeback falling at the hands of the Screaming Eagles 25-15, 14-25, 20-25, 25-14, 10-15.
“It’s a difficult loss to take but we’re still in a learning process,” said Parkside head coach Michelle Benoit. “We didn’t perform to our potential but those things take time.”
When quick tips and line shots failed to provide Parkside success, their 4-9 deficit early turned the tables quick by reverting back to what they do most impressive.
The Rangers rank first in the GLVC in blocks per set with 2.34.
With three blocks apiece from the lethal front line of junior Tami Gleason and sophomore Cassy Marx, Game 1 exemplified exactly why.
Fueled by an 18-5 run, Parkside coasted to a 25-15 victory highlighted by Gleason’s additional eight digs and five kills. Junior outside hitter Cassie Wilkens also made key contributions adding two digs and two kills to the stat sheet.
Hendricks’ five kills and two blocks made a statement in Game 2 vaulting the Screaming Eagles out to a 13-5 lead.
“A win like this is one we can take back home and use to build our team confidence,” said a complacent Hendricks.
Parkside uncharacteristically failed to dominate up at the net which opened up Indiana’s offensive attack. Increasing their advantage to as much as 11, the Screaming Eagles rolled to a 25-14 triumph.
In a losing cause, freshman outside hitter Caroline Langer shoveled out four digs and chipped in for two kills.
Shaky passing in serve receive plagued the Rangers to another early deficit in Game 3. Despite savvy dumps by setter Courtney Stack and powerful spikes from sophomore Addie Kramer, Southern Indiana’s stellar defense simply outplayed the Rangers.
Nursing a 20-15 lead, USI setter Melanie Pund’s nine assists out of 43 for the match helped fend off a late Parkside surge and seal the deal 25-20.
Stack facilitated Parkside’s offense racking up eight assists.
Game 4 signified Indiana’s turn to experience defensive low-lights. Superb serving from freshman Shannon Curtis complemented by rifling shots from Wilkens had the Rangers enjoying a comfortable 16-8 lead.
Emphasized by four suffocating blocks from senior middle hitter Jennifer Johnson, the Rangers captured a 25-14 win in dominating fashion forcing a fifth set.
Unsatisfactory defense was once again a shortcoming that Parkside would have to overcome in Game 5. Stuffs from Gleason and Marx made this a little more possible despite the Rangers still trailing most of the game.
Indiana’s middle blocker Danielle LaGrange buried any lasting Parkside momentum with a notable six kills en route to a 15-10 win preserving the five-set victory.
LaGrange finished the afternoon with a match-high 17 kills, as well as three digs and two service aces.
Gleason and Langer each finished with 11 digs and ten kills a piece. Stack chipped in with 28 assists and eight digs to her credit.
Wilkens had an exception performance contributing 13 digs, nine kills, two assists, and a service ace. Kramer led all Parkside hitters with 15 kills.
Preparing for their final match of a three game home-stand, Parkside hosts Lewis University at 7:00 pm Tuesday evening. At a perfect 9-0 in their circuit, No. 13 LU enters the conference bout as the front-runner in the GLVC.
“We have nothing to lose and our girls know that,” said Benoit. “We just need to emulate that success we had in the first set and sustain it throughout the match.”