VU Volleyball shows resilience in 5-set win at upset-minded Lake Land - Athletics

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VU Volleyball shows resilience in 5-set win at upset-minded Lake Land

MATTOON, Ill. - The Vincennes University Volleyball Team came up clutch Friday night for a hard-fought five-set victory at Lake Land in Mattoon, IL, after the host Lakers had won the second and third sets by 24-26 scores. The Trailblazers battled back to grab the fourth set, 25-20, and then ground out the fifth set with a 15-7 victory to seal the win.
 
VU is now 17-3 on the season.
 
The Trailblazers broke a 7-7 tie in the first set and then went on to maintain a lead the rest of the way in Set No. 1 for a 25-21 win.
 
In the second set, VU got out to a lead again but could never put the Lakers away and the Trailblazers clung to a slight advantage until it looked like VU had gone up 2-0 with a 25-23 win. But a Lake Land hit that was initially ruled as being long and out of bounds was reversed and called a tip by VU. Instead of a 25-23 win, the Trailblazers were then locked in a 24-all tie. The Lakers went up, 25-24, on a VU hitting error and then scored again to even the match at 1-1 at that point.
 
The third set was tight as well. The Trailblazers led early until Lake Land grabbed a lead at 12-13. The Lakers remained in front until VU tied it at 18-18 and the teams then went back-and-forth despite the Trailblazers losing freshman Gabrielle Medrado for the rest of the set when she aggravated an achilles tendon injury. The Trailblazers were up, 21-20, on a Genesis Milisde/Erica Kik combo block that fell in, and traded points with Lake Land. With neither squad allowing the other to get away, VU knotted the set yet again at 24-all on a Jordan Sprinkle kill but Lake Land scored again and won the set, 24-26, on a VU hitting error to go up 2-1.
 
With their backs against the wall, the Trailblazers came back by getting in front early in the fourth set and preserved a lead in the three-to-five-point range in the late going until scoring four unanswered points to open up a 24-18 lead. After weathering two straight points by Lake Land, VU put the set away at 25-20 on a Kaeli James kill and tied the match at 2-2.
 
In the decisive fifth set, the Trailblazers got out front yet again and held an 8-4 lead after a long rally that included two hustle plays by sophomore Abigail Bergman. That 8-4 score stood at the turn when the teams switched ends of the floor. Following the break, VU got an ace from Medrado who had returned for the fourth set. The quick ninth VU point prompted a Lake Land timeout. The second break in action apparently worked for Lake Land because the Lakers scored twice to slice the lead to 9-6. However, VU didn't let things get away. The Trailblazers registered four straight points to answer the Lake Land mini rally. VU reached match point at 14-7 on a Kik spike and then won the match when Abby Bigler's serve crawled over the net and fell in for a winning ace.
 
VU was led in kills by Milisde's 17, while sophomore Kassidie Hayes had 10 and Medrado and Kik finished with eight kills apiece. Freshman Cali Topolski turned in 29 assists, followed by Medrado's 18. In addition, Bigler registered three service aces and Medrado served a pair of aces, freshman Abigail Bergman had 20 digs to pace the Trailblazers while freshman Hannah Bullock contributed 19, Medrado 12 and Topolski and James chipped in with 10 each. Kik's five blocks led the way and Hayes and Sprinkle both turned in two blocks.
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