Sophomores Koch and Anderson Combine for 36 kills, Gubera posts career-high
University of Southern Indiana Volleyball closed out its regular season in a stunning fashion, beating the top-ranked Lewis Flayers in five sets at Neil Carey Arena. Leading the charge for the Screaming Eagles was Leah Anderson, Katherine Koch, and Callie Gubera, with career and season-highs, which pushed the 24th-ranked Eagles to victory over the No.1 team in the nation.
The Screaming Eagles knocked off a top-ranked team for the first time in program history with the victory over Lewis. The Lewis Flyers entered the match with a 16-0 record on the year and the number one national ranking since March 3, ranking no lower than second since February 10. In the five-set match, USI went down early in in two highly competitive and contested sets, fighting back to sweep the final three sets and claim the win over the top-ranking Flyers. The Eagles led in the majority of statistical categories enroute to the victory, including hitting percentage, kills, assists, aces, blocks, and points.
The offensive barrage against the Flyers was led by sophomore duo Koch and Anderson again. Adding to her 18 kills, which was a season-high, Anderson collected a match-leading 23.0 points which marked four-straight contests with double-figures in both kills and points. The Bloomington, Illinois-native added in four aces and played the defensive side thoroughly with 17 digs and two blocks. Koch recorded career-highs in kills and points while hitting an impressive .261 mark on 46 attacks. The outside hitter recorded her fourth-straight match with double-figures in both categories as well, adding a season-high of five blocks, pluse two assists, two aces, and 13 digs. The Eagles’ offense went far beyond the sophomore duo, with five more players recording at least one kill. Junior Taylor Litteken hit .308 with nine kills with two aces and three blocks, totaling 12.5 points and freshman Abby Weber posted seven kills with nine points. Sidney Hegg recorded four kills, Casey Cepicky blasted three and libero Gubera nabbed one. USI posted a better attack percentage and kill count than the opposing Flyers, especially with the floor general Cepicky recording 48 assists to coordinate the bombardment.
On defense, USI showed its true colors with five players recording 12-plus digs and six thwarting at least one Lewis attack. The senior Gubera posted a career-high in digs with 38 to lead the defense. Anderson laid out for 17, followed by Cepicky and Koch each with 13, and Weber with 12. At the net, USI set a season-high in blocks with 13.5 and digs with 100 against the Flyers. The block-effort was led by junior Hegg derailing nine Lewis attacks, a career-high for the middle blocker. Just behind Hegg was Koch with five, Litteken and Cepicky with three each, while Anderson and Weber both had two.
The victory leads the Screaming Eagles into the GLVC Volleyball Championship Tournament with a four-game win streak. The Screaming Eagles rank third in the GLVC Point-Rating-System (PRS) as of 4/10/2021. The top eight teams (via the GLVC PRS) will compete for a conference championship in a single-elimination tournament.
USI Volleyball defeated a national No. 1-ranked program for the first time in its history with the 3-2 victory over the Lewis Flyers. The Eagles also returned the favor to Lewis with the five-set win in Romeoville, as Lewis defeated USI 3-2 in Evansville in January.
In the GLVC East division, the Screaming Eagles went 7-1, sweeping the season series versus UIndy, McKendree, and UIS while splitting its series with Lewis. USI owns a 14-4 overall record this year.