September 1, 2012

Citadel Volleyball Suffers Pair of Five Set Heartbreakers

Radford, Va. – The Citadel volleyball team extended both Radford and St. Francis (Pa.) to the limits in the second day of action at the Radford University Tournament, but was unable to complete a victory in their second in-season tournament. The Bulldogs suffered a tough five-set loss in the morning session and returned to the court four hours later to fall just shy of St. Francis (Pa.) by scores of 19-25, 25-16, 23-25, 25-21, 15-13.

Sophomore outside hitter Ise d'Angelo finished with 13 kills, eight digs and a .229 attack percentage for the Dogs. She was joined up front by the combination of Lauren Hurt and Bailey Kernodle, who capped off the loss with six kills, respectively. Amanda Rudnik led The Citadel with 14 digs, while all-tournament selection Jessica Maxwell assisted on a team-high five blocks.

The Red Flashes (3-3) were led by the efforts of Hannah Kutny, who finished with 20 kills and a .385 attack percentage. Also instrumental in the St. Francis (Pa.) success were Elizabeth Williams (14 kills), Lauren Wingard (13 kills) and Chelsea Easter (10 kills). Williams added 15 digs and Wingard tacked on 12 digs to complete their double-double performances.

The Citadel established control early in the opening set, jumping out to an 11-7 lead behind and attack error by Breanna Kochinsky. St. Francis (Pa.) allowed just one point in the next six, making for a 12-12 tie. With Maxwell in serve, the Dogs regained a small advantage, 15-12, and increased the lead to 22-17 following a d'Angelo kill. A service ace by Maxwell coupled with an attack error and a Kernodle kill completed the 25-19 victory.

St. Francis (Pa.) answered with a strong second set, battling to a 10-10 tie on a kill by Williams. The Red Flash put together a 10-3 run, including three kills by Kutny, to assume a 20-13 lead. Despite kills by Hurt and d'Angelo, The Citadel fell in the second set 25-16.

After falling behind 10-3 early in the third set, due in large part to eight points with Williams in serve, The Citadel were able to adjust and force six errors and trim the lead to five. Continuing to push the Red Flash, a series of kills by Mikaela Tracy and d'Angelo made for a 20-16 score. D'Angelo sent three of the Cadets next four kills past an unbalanced Red Flash defense to pull the team even at 22-22. Hurt gave The Citadel its first lead since the fourth point of the match, and after two errors the Dogs won the 25-23 win.

The Red Flash got off to a sound start in the fourth set, jumping in front 11-6 on a series of Citadel attack errors. Leading by four, St. Francis capitalized on four straight points to move in front 18-11. The Bulldogs retaliated with consecutive unforced errors and a service ace from d'Angelo to pull within five, drawing as close as 21-20 following an unforced error by SFU's Lauren Wingard. The Red Flash again responded with key kills, this time by Maria Cup and Kutny, to capture the set 25-21.

The fifth set began in similar fashion to that of the fourth, as St. Francis (Pa.) amassed a 10-6 lead behind a pair of points by Alanna Blenkam. Again, The Citadel proved resilient service aces by Tracy that made for an 11-11 tie. Three consecutive kills by Williams, Wingard and Kutny moved St. Francis in front, 14-11, as the Red Flash completed the match victory on a strike by Cup.

RADFORD 3, THE CITADEL 2

Lauren Hurt finished with 16 kills and Ise d'Angelo added 14 kills as The Citadel front row accounted for 67 team kills, but Radford earned a tough five-set victory over the Bulldogs by scores of 19-25, 26-24, 25-27, 25-23 and 15-11.

Teammates Jessica Maxwell and Bailey Kernodle also reached double-figures in  kills with 13 and 10, respectively. The Bulldogs (0-5) had a solid defensive showing from Emily Dalton (20 digs) and Mikaela Tracy (17 digs). Hurt finished with a match-high six assisted blocks to lead a Citadel unit that had 22 on the contest.

Radford (4-2) took advantage of double-digit kill outings by Rachel Wiechecki (15), Savannah Cantrell (10) and Emma Deininger (10). Five Highlanders, led by Katelyn Meeks (13 digs), Jena Braden (12 digs) and Emily Carlin (12 digs), topped the team in digs. Cantrell also chimed in with four assisted blocks.

The Citadel battled through five ties in the opening frame to reach a climatic 14-14 tie after kills by Hurt and Radford's Emily Hayes. D'Angelo followed with three kills over the next four points to provide a small cushion, 18-15. The Citadel continued to pile on the points as two kills from Maxwell and one each from Hurt and Amanda Rudnik opened a 24-17 lead. Radford briefly countered with a pair of kills by Deininger before Tracy drove home the clinching 25-19 Citadel win.

The Highlanders responded by assuming an early 8-4 lead in the second set, behind a kill by Cantrell. They managed to maintain the four-point cushion, even pushing the advantage to five on a pair of occasions, before a series of points provided Radford with a 21-14 advantage. Hurt drove home a kill for the Bulldogs and following an unforced error and a Rachael Farrell kill, The Citadel climbed within 21-16 of the lead. Continuing to apply pressure, Maxwell drove home a kill and put used her service game to knot the game at 23-23. Two points later, tied at 24, a Citadel error and Cantrell kill gave the Highlanders a 26-24 win.

The third set was also a battle for supremacy as Radford assumed an early 12-7 lead. The Citadel hung close by forcing errors through the service game of Tracy and Maxwell to trim the score to 17-13. Trailing by five, 20-15, Rachel Keefer gave the Dogs offense a boost with six of the next seven points to pull even at 21-21. The two teams reached a 25-25 tie before a kill by Maxwell coupled with an attack error by Savanna Burton gave The Citadel a 27-25 win.

Radford, facing a must-win set, fought hard through a 9-9 tie to take a brief two point led. Trailing 18-15 at the midpoint of the match, kills by d'Angelo coupled with a pair of Highlander attack errors with the sophomore in serve, drew the Dogs within one. The game reached an eventual 20-20 tie before consecutive kills by Jesse Miedema and Wiechecki opened up a two-point Radford lead. The Highlanders scored three of the next six points to send the match into a decisive fifth set with a 25-23 win.

The Citadel exploded with an offensive surge in the early stages of the fifth set, assuming a 9-4 lead, keyed by three kills by Hurt. Radford responded seven unanswered points with Wiechecki in serve to move in front 11-4. The Highlanders took advantage of three Bulldog unforced errors in that span and grabbed momentum in the process. The Highlanders allowed just two points among the final five of the set to complete the match clinching 15-11 victory.

For more information on Bulldog Volleyball, go to the official website of The Citadel Athletics, www.CitadelSports.com.

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