USI’s Senior Day spoiled by Tennessee Tech


EVANSVILLE, Ind. – University of Southern Indiana Volleyball (10-15, 6-8 OVC) honored its four seniors after a tough loss to Tennessee Tech University (10-16, 6-9 OVC) at Screaming Eagles Arena on Saturday afternoon, 3-1 (25-22, 26-24, 25-21, 25-19). The Screaming Eagles recognized their four seniors: outside/right side hitter Evie Duncan (Evansville, Indiana), libero/defensive specialist Audrey Crowder (Avon, Indiana), outside/right side hitter Abby Bednar (Chagrin Falls, Ohio), and outside hitter Leah Anderson (Bloomington, Illinois).
USI was held off by the Golden Eagles in the first set, 25-22. The Screaming Eagles got the scoring started with back-to-back kills from Leah Anderson and junior middle blocker Paris Downing (Avon, Indiana) before jumping out to an early 4-1 lead. TTU recovered well and later took the lead after a big 5-1 surge to make it 10-8. Downing and Leah Anderson teamed up to knot it up at 10 apiece before both sides started trading blows. USI was able to get the jump on TTU after an ace from junior outside hitter Abby Weber (Fishers, Indiana) then repeated kills from Downing and sophomore middle hitter Bianca Anderson (Chicago Heights, Illinois) to take the 17-16 advantage. However, the Golden Eagles caught fire and went on a crucial 5-0 run that proved to be too much to come back from for the Screaming Eagles. TTU had a hot start in the match, posting 17 kills and a 0.318 hitting percentage along with four blocks. USI produced 14 kills but had seven costly errors.
USI rallied behind 16 kills and three aces to sneak past TTU in the second, 26-24. Trailing 5-4, the Screaming Eagles gained an early lead after a 4-0 surge off a pair of aces from sophomore libero/defensive specialist Keira Moore (Newburgh, Indiana). TTU returned the favor with a 5-0 stint and then continued to pour it on and ultimately led 18-13. USI would be relentless and go on a big 5-0 run to knot it up at 18 each. During the stint, Leah Anderson got the run going with a kill then junior setter Carly Sobieralski (Indianapolis, Indiana) kept it going with a skip set kill with the surge ending with an ace from Moore. After back-and-forth play, USI scored four of the last five points to steal the victory and tie the match at 1-1. Leah Anderson was the source of big plays as she tacked on six kills to lead the Screaming Eagles.
An early deficit and rocky start for USI cost the Screaming Eagles in the third game, 25-21. TTU kicked off the frame with a 4-0 run then doubled up on USI with a 10-5 lead. It went from bad to worse for the Screaming Eagles as the Golden Eagles piled on and went into the media timeout with a 15-7 advantage. USI could only muster three kills in the front portion of the set but woke up and tallied five quick kills to close the gap to 18-15. Bednar was quick to cut the deficit even more by recording a kill and an ace in back-to-back rallies to make it 19-17. Even after the retaliation, USI could not finish the job as TTU took the 2-1 match lead. The Golden Eagles nabbed 18 kills in the frame compared to USI’s 10 kills while both sides produced three blocks apiece.
TTU went on a long run to ice USI and stole the final set, 25-19. The Screaming Eagles captured an early 8-5 lead after kills from Bednar, Leah Anderson, and Bianca Anderson. The Golden Eagles struck gold and scored eight of the next nine points to regain the lead, 13-9. USI bounced back with a trio of points to close the gap but TTU returned fire with a 5-0 run to make it 18-12 in favor of the Golden Eagles. Despite trailing by as many as seven, USI was able to make up some ground with a 5-1 stint that found the Screaming Eagles within the grasp of a lead, 23-19. Leading the run was Bianca Anderson who tallied a pair of kills while Weber capped off the surge with a kill. Despite putting the Golden Eagles on their heels, USI could not come back from the large hole as TTU came away with the win and handed USI its third-straight loss. The Screaming Eagles could only get eight kills in the frame while TTU pounded the offensive game with a match-high 20 kills.
On her Senior Day, Leah Anderson produced her fifth straight and 10th total double-double with 15 kills and 15 digs. Bianca Anderson also nabbed double-digit kills with 11 while Moore led the group with 17 digs and three aces. Downing had a big night at the net with seven blocks to pair with seven kills as Sobieralski posted 44 assists for her fifth straight 40+ assist performance.
As a team, the Screaming Eagles totaled 48 kills, 46 assists, and five aces to pair with 67 digs and eight blocks. The Golden Eagles nabbed 70 kills, 65 assists, and four aces with 73 digs and 12 blocks.
The Eagles hit the road one last time next week when USI faces former NCAA DII and GLVC foe, Lindenwood University, on Thursday at 6 p.m. and Friday at 5 p.m. in St. Charles, Missouri. The Eagles split last year’s series with the Lions and are 5-1 against the Lindenwood since they became conference rivals in 2019.