September 7, 2013

Morgan State, Loyola Turn Back Bulldogs at East Carolina Invitational

Greenville, N.C. – Zuri Smith tallied 15 kills and teammate Samantha Prescott finished with 10 kills and 12 digs to lead Morgan State to a five-set victory over The Citadel by scores of 20-25, 25-14, 15-25, 25-22 and 15-9 at the East Carolina Invitational.

The Bears took advantage of solid defensive performances by Tamara Leslie (14 digs), Ngebui Chefeh (11) and Shayna Hunt-Colon (11) to earn their first victory of the season. On the offensive end, Morgan State (1-6) finished with 52 team kills due in large part to Chefeh's 39 assists.

Seven different Bulldogs recorded kills in the afternoon match, including Katie Briggs who posted a team-high 12. Joining Briggs in double-digit kills was freshman Megan Sowell (11), while the trio of Erin Bucherl (15 digs), Ise d'Angelo (10) and Rachel Keefer (10) guided The Citadel to 58 team digs. Bucherl finished the two-day tournament with 41 digs and was the only Bulldog player to draw all-tournament accolades.

The Citadel (0-6) persevered through 11 ties in the opening set to assume a 15-14 lead on a Sowell kill. From there the Dogs took advantage of a Bucherl service ace and an unforced Morgan State error to move in front 17-14. Stretching the lead to five, 21-16, following a kill by Lauren Hurt, the Cadets overcame three Prescott kills in the final eight points to win the first set 25-20.

In similar fashion to the first set, the two teams battled for supremacy with Morgan State eventually gaining the upper hand, 13-12, following a timely kill by Janelle Wilson. Five points later Hurt responded with a kill and kept the Dogs within striking distance, 16-14, before the Bears rattled off the final nine points of the set to win 25-14.

Trailing by two points early in the third set The Citadel used Bucherl's service game, which included four service aces, to forge in front by an 11-7 margin. That five point margin eventually reached seven, 17-10, as Hurt forced the Bears into three consecutive errors while in serve. Two kills by d'Angelo and Sowell proved to be the difference down the stretch as the Bulldogs completed the win, 25-15.

The Citadel overcame an early two point deficit to draw the game even, 8-8, following a kill by d'Angelo. Working off that momentum, along with a series of kills by Sowell, the Bulldogs managed to maintain their slim two-point lead. Morgan State used a kill by Prescott to put Wilson in serve and pieced together a four-point run to move in front 18-17. The two teams eventually reached a 22-22 tie before three points with Leslie in serve provided the Bears with a 25-22 victory.

Hurt proved to be the catalyst for The Citadel offense that ran out to a 7-0 lead to open the fifth set. In that stretch the junior middle blocker forced four Morgan State errors and took advantage of kills by Briggs and Sowell to establish The Citadel early. Morgan State retaliated with eight unanswered points with Wilson in serve, assuming an 8-7 lead on a kill by Smith. After a bad set by Dinah Jones deadlocked the game at eight, the Bears used two Smith kills and a pair of Citadel errors to complete the 15-9 five-set victory.

The Citadel vs. Loyola (Ill.)

Morgan Reardon drove home a match-high 12 kills to pace a Loyola (Ill.) squad that earned a 25-18, 25-11, 25-5 sweep of The Citadel volleyball team in the morning session of the East Carolina Invitational.

Reardon, along with Maureen Carls (eight kills) and Libby Bresser (six kills), anchored a front row that totaled 42 Rambler kills. Bresser and Carls also made their presence known defensively with seven and six assisted blocks, respectively. Loyola's defense was solidified with the play of back row duo Vicki Wrobel (14 digs) and Kathleen Vogel (12), which provided a 47-27 advantage in digs. The Ramblers improved to 4-2 overall following the victory.

Freshman Megan Sowell earned high marks for The Citadel with a team-high five kills. Teammates Lauren Hurt and Rachel Keefer, who combined for seven of the team's eight assisted blocks, also had solid performances.

Loyola started off strong, taking a 6-1 lead in the first set behind the service game of Stephanie Kinane, before two kills and a service ace by Sowell trimmed the margin to 9-5. The Citadel continued to apply pressure, cutting the lead to 10-7 following a kill by Samantha Espy, only to see the Ramblers run off seven of the next 12 points and regain control 17-12. Bulldog kills down the stretch by d'Angelo and Katie Briggs were not enough to offset the Loyola offense that completed the 25-18 opening set win.

Establishing themselves early on in the second set the Ramblers streaked out to an 8-3 lead behind three kills by Reardon. After the two teams traded the next two points, Loyola's Brittany Brown forced The Citadel into four unforced errors as the lead ballooned to 18-5. A kill by Hurt followed by an Erin Bucherl service ace gave the Dogs their seventh point, but it was not enough as Laura Purcell's three kills helped the Ramblers complete the 25-11 victory.

The offensive rhythm established in the second set carried over into the third as Loyola allowed just two Citadel points en route to a 19-2 lead. The Ramblers' run was keyed by the service game of Kinane, which consisted of two service aces and six Bulldog unforced errors. A kill by Dominique Williams halted The Citadel scoring drought and following strikes by Mallory Moore and Bailey Kernodle the Dogs had three of next five set points. However, three kills by Carr down the stretch secured Loyola's 25-5 win.

The Citadel returns to action next weekend when it hosts The Citadel Tournament that will include Charleston Southern, DePaul, Radford and South Carolina State. The Cadets open with a pair of matches against in-state rivals S.C. State and Charleston Southern.

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