Volleyball opens Eagle Challenge with big win over MSU

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    Aces continue to roll

     MOREHEAD, Ky. – A balanced offensive attack saw Giulia Cardona, Alondra Vazquez and Melanie Feliciano finish with double digit kills to pace the University of Evansville volleyball team to a 3-1 win over defending Ohio Valley Conference Champion Morehead State on Friday morning.

    Match 1 – UE 3, Morehead State 1

    Taking on a Morehead State team that went 17-2 in the spring, the Purple Aces grabbed the early momentum in the first set, taking a 4-1 lead with Cardona tallying three kills.  The Eagles fought back to tie it up at 6-6, but with the score knotted at 11-11, Evansville made its run.  Taking advantage of a handful of MSU errors, the Aces scored five in a row to go up 16-11.  UE continued to roll from there, cementing a 25-21 win on a Vazquez kill.

    Game two saw UE take another early lead as a Cecilia Thon kill helped lift the team to a 3-1 edge.  Morehead State clawed away at the deficit, eventually tying it up at 9-9 on an Irene Wogenstahl kill.  That run was part of a 6-0 stretch by the Eagles as they wrestled away a 13-9 lead.  Evansville answered in a big way, embarking on a run of its own.  The Aces scored eight in a row to change the course of the set.  Thon’s flawless serving, coupled with kills by Cardona, Kate Tsironis and Vazquez, were pivotal to the rally.

    The Eagles staged another comeback, tying the set up at 21-21.  After seven further ties led to a 28-28 score, it was junior Hannah Watkins taking over.  Her second kill of the set broke the stalemate before her service ace clinched the set by a 30-28 final.  A key part to the late rally was that Evansville never let MSU take the lead.

    Already up by a 2-0 score in the match, UE was on fire to begin the third game, posting the first four points.  The Eagles fought right back, tying it at 5-5 before using a 4-0 run to go up by a score of 12-8.  Evansville kept the Eagles within striking distance, cutting their lead to 20-19 on a Cardona service ace, but MSU used a late run to take a 25-20 decision and cut the Evansville match lead to 2-1.

    An exciting match saw the first three sets come down to the wire and the fourth game was no different.  Once again, it was the Aces jumping out to the early advantage with a Thon service ace contributing to a 3-0 lead.  MSU took its first lead at 6-5 before a rally by UE was capped off by a Watkins kill to give her team a 10-7 edge.  The Aces controlled the middle part of the set and would extend the lead to 20-17 when Laura Ruiz picked up her first ace of the day.  Morehead State tied it up with three in a row, but three errors helped Evansville push the lead to 24-21.  That is when Melanie Feliciano put an exclamation point on the match with her 10th kill to clinch the fourth win in a row for her squad.

    Cardona led UE with 16 kills while Vazquez and Feliciano finished with 12 and 10, respectively.  Cecilia Thon tallied 34 assists while Blakeley Freeman picked up 18 digs.  Thon and Vazquez added 13 and 12.  Watkins got the job done in the middle, registering a match-high seven block assists to go along with five kills.  Morehead State was paced by Abby Hulsman, who tallied 28 kills.

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