Huskies sweep conference rival 3-0

Junior middle blocker Caiti Wenger pulls up for a kill during the Huskies 3-1 win against Stephen F. Austin State University. by CHRISTOPHER JAMES | THE COLLEGIAN

 

The volleyball team swept Great West Conference opponent New Jersey Institute of Technology 3-0 Nov. 4 at Sharp Gym, which extended the Huskies’ season high win streak to six.

Sophomore outside hitter Bailey Keith hit .429 with 15 kills during the match.

In a close first set, NJIT held the lead until their 18-15 advantage before the Huskies scored four consecutive points to take their second lead since leading 1-0.

After NJIT tied the Huskies at 19, the team would score three consecutive points to take the lead again at 22-19 and would eventually take the set 25-21.

Keith recorded eight kills on 13 attempts in the opening set for the Huskies, while Highlanders’ standout freshman outside hitter Danica Vukotic led the team with five kills in the first set.

Keith said that it was important to win the first set because it set the tone for the rest of the match.

“It was really important for us to win the first set because we weren’t expecting them to come out as tough as they did,” Keith said. “Knowing that we had to fight to come back and win was important.”

The second set was controlled by the Huskies throughout the match as they took a commanding lead early at 12-5 and then at 21-12.

The team would close out the match with four straight points, getting kills from both junior middle blocker Caiti Wenger and senior outside hitter Heather Leaverton to finish the set at 25-12.

Leaverton recorded her team-leading 14th double-double with 14 kills and 12 digs.

Leverton said that having a long break affected their rhythm, but as the match progressed, the team was able to click.

“Not competing in over a week affected how long it took us to get in rhythm,” Leverton said. “But we found our rhythm towards the end of the sets and were able to finish.”

In the final set, it was a close match as the Huskies had a slim 21-18 lead, but the team again closed out the set and match with the final four points to win 25-18.

After back-to-back kills by Keith, along with a kill by sophomore outside hitter Jasmine Casey, sophomore libero Esther Longoria clinched match point with an ace.

Head coach Trent Herman said the team played well on both offense and defense all game, which helped their success.

“Throughout the match we played solid defense and our service game was strong,” Herman said. “Our defense gave us balance and the ability to put stress on the opposition.”

The Huskies play their final game of the regular season against University of Texas-Pan American for senior/alumni night on Nov. 11 at Sharp Gym.

The first place Huskies will return to play in the Great West Conference tournament Nov. 15 through 17.

 

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