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Volleyball picks up first win in Peoria

September 5, 2018

The University of Toledo women’s volleyball team picked up its first win of the season against Western Illinois

 

3-0 this weekend in the Bradley University Tournament in Peoria, Illinois.

 

UT lost its first two games of the tournament to George Washington 3-2, and the host school Bradley in straight sets.

 

Toledo fell short in its comeback attempt against George Washington in its first game. However, in the third set, captain and fourth-year student Maurissa Leonard became the all-time leader in digs in UT history, passing former Rocket Lora Sarich.

 

Third-year striker Zoe Birnbrich led the way offensively with a career-high 21 kills while second-year Chloe Kleespies added 14 kills and five blocks. Leonard added 31 digs to her new school record.

 

The first set was closely contested until UT rattled off five straight points to take a 17-11 advantage. GWU fought their way back to tie the game at 18.

 

The teams went back and forth until they were tied at 23, but the Colonials scored the final two points to take the first set.

 

GWU carried that moment into the next set where they were in control the entire way. The Rockets fell behind by seven and never made up the deficit.

 

The highest margin was 19-8, but UT capitalized on several mistakes to score, but ultimately lost the set 25-17.

 

The third set started like the first, both teams going back and forth. George Washington took a 13-9 lead which was the largest in the set.

 

UT fought back to tie the score at 20. While tied at the 22, the Rockets exploded offensively and a service ace from fourth-year Haley Sendelbach won the set for the Rockets.

 

The Rockets came out on fire in the fourth set, trying to stay alive in the match. The Rockets were ahead 16-8 and were on their way to the fifth and final set.

 

The Colonials went on an 11-3 run to tie the game 23, but UT managed the last two points to force a final set.

 

The fifth set was tied at five when the Colonials took control. They took the lead, defeating the Rockets in the final set, 15-12.

 

Toledo did not fare as well against Bradley in its next match. The Braves came out fast, scoring five of the first six points of the match.

UT cut the deficit to four, but that was the closest it would get. Bradley scored eight of the last 11 points to win the first set 25-15.

 

The Rockets jumped out early this time, 6-2. But Bradley was relentless on offense, scoring three points in a row three separate times.

 

The Rockets closed the gap to tie the game at 21, but the Braves scored four straight points to win the second set.

 

Bradley made four attack errors to start the third set and fell behind 5-1. They responded with seven straight points to take the lead. The Braves controlled the set until the Rockets scored six out of seven points to take a 25-24 lead to force extra time.

 

But the Braves rattled off three straight points to win the set 27-25 and sweep the match.

 

In the final match of the tournament, the team picked up its first win of the season against Western Illinois. This marks the first win for new head coach Jason Oliver.

 

Birnbrich recorded a team-high 13 kills and fourth-year Carly Townsend added 33 assists to the offensive attack.

 

The teams were evenly matched in the first set and were tied six times before either team had 10 points. The Rockets took a small two-point lead that they would not give up.

 

Kleespies and second-year Emma Swope combined for nine kills in the 25-18 victory.

 

The second set was more one-sided in favor of UT. Toledo recorded a .341 hit percentage compared to just .125 by WIU. The Rockets scored first and never gave up the lead as they dominated 25-15.

 

It was more of the same in the final set as the Rockets never trailed. Western Illinois managed to tie the game at 11, but that is as close as they got.

 

The Rockets return home this weekend for the Blue and Gold Invitational when they will host Duquesne, Manhattan and Moorhead State.

 

 

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