Eagles swept by Racers, Knights


LOUISVILLE, Ken. – University of Southern Indiana Volleyball (1-5) played a competitive match in its loss to Murray State University (3-1), 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-21), before dropping the second match of the day to Bellarmine University (2-3), 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-19), at Knights Hall Friday evening to open the Bellarmine Invitational.
USI vs. Murray State
The Screaming Eagles had an early lead but watched it dwindle as the Racers came back and defeated them, 25-21. After giving up two straight points, USI went on a quick 6-0 run with the help of a couple of kills from senior outside/right side hitter Abby Bednar (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) and sophomore middle hitter Bianca Anderson (Chicago Heights, Illinois). The Eagles held on to the lead until three straight kills from MSU gave the Racers a 14-12 advantage. Both sides traded blows back and forth until MSU sealed the game by scoring four of the last five points. Bednar led the Eagles with five of the team’s 10 kills.
Another competitive game from USI left the Eagles without satisfaction as MSU took the second set, 25-19. The Racers jumped out to a 4-2 lead before USI nabbed three points off a pair of MSU errors and a kill from Bianca Anderson. Back-and-forth play went on the entire set, but the Racers got the upper hand at the end after a game-sealing 3-0 run. Bednar racked up another five kills with senior outside hitter Leah Anderson (Bloomington, Illinois) tallying four kills. MSU had their best attacking set of the day, earning 16 kills with just one error and a 0.455 hitting percentage. The Eagles also performed a good attacking game, throwing down 13 kills with a 0.206 hitting percentage.
A few solid Racers’ surges sealed the Eagles’ fate in the final set, 25-21. USI came out of the gates with a 4-1 lead after kills from Leah Anderson and junior middle hitter Paris Downing (Avon, Indiana) along with a service ace from junior setter Carly Sobieralski (Indianapolis, Indiana). MSU retaliated with a big 6-0 stretch to make it 7-4 in favor of the Racers. Once again, the Eagles pushed back with three straight points. Down 10-9, USI gained some momentum and the lead after two kills from Bednar and an attacking error from MSU that made it 12-11. The Racers returned with four straight and made it 15-12. Trailing 21-17, USI made a last-second push and went on a 4-0 stint to tie it up at 21 apiece. Bednar was the culprit for a few of the Eagles’ points, earning a kill, ace, and assist while Sobieralski tallied a block and a kill. Despite the late comeback, the Racers nailed four straight points to earn the sweep over the Eagles.
Bednar led the charge on the attack for USI, securing 15 kills to go with an ace and two blocks. Sobieralski threw up 29 assists along with seven digs and an ace while sophomore libero/defensive specialist Keira Moore (Newburgh, Indiana) racked up a team-leading 11 digs. Junior middle blocker Lauren O’Neill (Covington, Indiana) was the main blocker for USI, picking up two block solos and assists each.
As a team, the Eagles recorded 35 kills, 31 assists, and three aces to pair with 38 digs and five total blocks. The Racers ended the morning with 44 kills, 42 assists, and three aces to go with 45 digs and five blocks.
USI vs. Bellarmine
A big run by the Knights led to a 25-22 loss for the Eagles in the opening game. USI went up 6-2 with the help of a pair of kills from senior outside hitter Leah Anderson (Bloomington, Illinois) and a kill by senior outside/right side hitter Abby Bednar (Chagrin Falls, Ohio). Bellarmine retaliated with a 3-0 run right before the Eagles returned the favor by scoring three straight points. After taking a 13-8 lead, USI watched Bellarmine go on a 7-0 surge and scoring 11 of the next 13 points to take a 19-15 advantage. After a run-ending kill from sophomore outside hitter Bianca Anderson (Chicago Heights, Illinois), the Eagles cut the deficit to just one with a 4-1 stint. Bellarmine was able to extend the lead back to four and then seal the Eagles’ fate. Despite being outhit 13 kills to 12 kills, the Knights earned five service aces in the opening set.
USI put up a strong fight at the end but could not recover from an early deficit, falling 25-22 in the second set. The Eagles found themselves in a hole after the Knights put up a 10-3 lead early in the game. USI was able to take advantage of a few Bellarmine offensive mistakes to pull with four. Down 18-11, the Eagles made a quick jump and scored three straight after a kill from Leah Anderson and junior middle hitter Paris Downing (Avon, Indiana). However, the Knights fought back with a 3-0 run of their own which made it 21-14. USI would end up scoring eight of the final 12 points of the set but would still be taken down by Bellarmine. Both sides put up match-high kills in the second frame with the Eagles recording 15 kills and the Knights tallying 18 kills.
A tough offensive outing for USI cost the Eagles the 25-19 third-set win as the Knights took home their second win of the season. It was back-and-forth play early into the game until Bellarmine went on a 5-0 surge to give themselves a 19-13 advantage. The Eagles could not recover from the late push from the Knights and were given their fifth loss of the season and fourth loss in a row. USI had just eight kills in the set while Bellarmine recorded 15 kills.
Leah Anderson put up a team-leading 13 kills with Bednar adding 11 kills of her own. Junior setter Carly Sobieralski (Indianapolis, Indiana) put up 28 assists, her sixth-straight match with 20 or more assists. Sophomore libero/defensive specialist Keira Moore (Newburgh, Indiana) nabbed 11 digs while Downing totaled a pair of blocks. Four Eagles recorded one ace including Downing, Moore, junior outside hitter Abby Weber (Fishers, Indiana), and senior libero/defensive specialist Audrey Crowder (Avon, Indiana).
As a team, the Eagles had 36 kills, 34 assists, and four aces to pair with 43 digs and four blocks. The Knights ended the night with 45 kills, 43 assists, and nine aces to go with 46 digs and five blocks.