Eagles struggle in 3-1 loss to Jaguars


USI falls to IUPUI, 3-1

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – University of Southern Indiana (4-7) closed out the non-conference portion of the schedule with a 3-1 (25-22, 25-17, 25-17, 25-23) loss to IUPUI (5-5) on Wednesday night at The Jungle. USI will start the Ohio Valley Conference season on Monday against Eastern Illinois University.
The Eagles stood tall in the first set, taking home the 25-22 victory. USI jumped out to an 8-3 lead off four kills from three different players and an ace from senior outside hitter Leah Anderson (Bloomington, Illinois). Down 17-15, the Jaguars went on a quick 4-0 surge to take their first lead of the match. The Eagles did not falter, regaining the 20-19 lead with the help of a pair of kills from Leah Anderson and a kill from sophomore middle hitter Bianca Anderson (Chicago Heights, Illinois). USI closed out the set with a kill from senior outside/right side hitter Abby Bednar (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) to start the match with a 1-0 advantage. The Eagles were outhit by the Jaguars with 11 kills compared to 12 kills but had just three errors in comparison to eight errors for IUPUI.
A tough offensive outing from USI cost the Eagles the 25-17 second set. The Jaguars stormed out the gates with a 14-5 lead off eight USI offensive errors. Luckily for USI, they were able to regain momentum and cut the deficit to just six after kills from Leah Anderson and Bednar. IUPUI was able to bounce back and extended their lead back to nine until the Eagles took advantage of three Jaguars’ attacking errors to make it 21-15. However, the early deficit was too much to come back from as USI watched IUPUI knot up the match at 1-1. The Jaguars were nearly flawless on both ends, earning 13 kills with just three errors and holding the Eagles to eight kills and forcing nine errors.
USI could not close out the final frame after a big run from IUPUI and would fall, 25-23. The Eagles’ first five points came from multiple Jaguars’ errors until an ace from senior libero/defensive specialist Audrey Crowder (Avon, Indiana) gave USI their first offensive point and a 6-4 advantage. Trailing 15-13, IUPUI unleashed a 6-0 run that took away the Eagles’ lead. Leah Anderson battled back with back-to-back kills to cut the deficit and a kill from junior middle blocker Lauren O’Neill (Covington, Indiana) eventually tied the match at 21 apiece. Even after scoring a kill and an ace, USI watched IUPUI score four of the final six points to claim the 3-1 match victory. The Eagles’ offense could not produce in the deciding frame, earning a match-low seven kills with six errors while on the opposite end, the Jaguars scored 14 kills.
Leah Anderson nabbed a team-high 10 kills and two aces to pair with 11 digs for her fourth double-double of the season. Junior setter Carly Sobieralski (Indianapolis, Indiana) totaled 26 assists and a team-high 13 digs for her sixth double-double of the 2023 campaign, the most on the team thus far. Also earning double-digit digs was Bednar who ended the night with 10 digs. Leading the match with six blocks was Downing while Bianca Anderson was close behind with four blocks.
As a team, the Eagles had 35 kills, 33 assists, and four aces to go with 57 digs and 12 blocks. The Jaguars totaled 55 kills, 54 assists, and six aces with 64 digs and 12 blocks.
The Eagles start OVC play against undefeated EIU on Monday at 6 p.m. in Charleston, Illinois. Last season, the Panthers took both matches against USI. With EIU and USI being travel partners, they will meet again on September 26 at Screaming Eagles Arena.