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VU Volleyball splits 4 matches in Showdown At The Wabash

The Vincennes University Volleyball Team sandwiched two wins between a pair of setbacks as the Trailblazers split their four games at their own Showdown At The Wabash on Friday and Saturday at the Vincennes University P.E. Complex.

VU (11-12) dropped a five-set decision to Cincinnati State by scores of 13-25, 23-25, 25-22, 25-14, 7-15 in its first match on Friday afternoon. The Trailblazers returned Friday night to grind out a five-set victory over Kalamazoo Valley. That match’s scores were 18-25, 25-19, 25-22, 18-25, 15-13.

On Saturday, VU won its second match in a row with a straight-sets victory over Lake Michigan, 25-16, 25-23, 25-12. The fourth match of the Showdown At The Wabash for VU was against NJCAA Div. II No. 1 and perennial powerhouse Parkland. The Cobras closed out the Trailblazers in straight sets, 13-25, 19-25, 13-25.

VU vs. Cincinnati State
As they’ve done several times throughout the season, the Trailblazers got off to a slow start against Cincinnati State and the Surge used an early 5-1 run to go up 13-7 in the first set. VU was prompted to call its second timeout after Cincinnati State stretched the lead to 19-8. But the break in action didn’t help VU stop the Surge momentum and the Trailblazers were never close in the opening set.

In the second set, the Trailblazers again fell behind but closed to win two at 15-17. VU eventually tied it at 20-all and even took a 21-20 lead and had things tied at 23-23 before the Surge claimed the second set to go up 2-0.

VU battled back to take the third set by getting ahead early, weathering a Cincinnati State comeback that knotted things up at 16-16. The Trailblazers eventually garnered a 23-19 lead and withstood the Surge scoring two straight points before reach Set Point on a kill by freshman Kaeli James.

The fourth set also went to VU as things stayed close until a smash by sophomore Juma Armando staked the Trailblazers to a 17-9 advantage. Later, VU scored after a long rally and then freshman Jordan Sprinkle’s block made it 20-9 before Cincinnati State managed to end the VU run. The Surge scored five unanswered points of their own to get within 20-14 but the Trailblazers were able to slam the door and scored five consecutive points of their own to finish off the fourth and move to the pivotal fifth set.
That fifth set started out precariously for the Trailblazers as well as Cincinnati State got out to an 8-3 lead. It was still a five-point deficit for the Trailblazers at 11-6 when VU called timeout to regroup, but the Surge scored three more unanswered points after the timeout to stay in command and a VU service error gave Cincinnati State the decisive 15-7 verdict and the match.

The Trailblazers were paced in their opening match of the weekend event by James’ 13 kills and freshman Lindsey Persico’s 11 kills. Sophomore Brianna Burgess continued her strong play at the setter position with 24 assists and freshman Lauren Charlton contributed 11 assists. Persico and freshman Sheila Morris-Rogers each had a pair of serving aces.

VU vs. Kalamazoo Valley
VU got on the winning side of things against Kalamazoo Valley Friday night with a straight-sets decision. In the opening set, VU and the Cougars were locked in a tight one that found Kalamazoo Valley ahead 20-17 as the visitors outscored the Trailblazers late in the set, 3-1, to go up 1-0.

The Trailblazers bounced back in Set No. 2, but not before the Cougars jumped out 3-0 to start. VU clawed back to tie it at 8-8 but was victimized by Kalamazoo Valley going on a 10-6 streak to get ahead 18-14. VU fought back yet again as a combo block from Sprinkle and James got the Trailblazers within 19-18 as part of a VU 4-1 run to that point.

VU gained its first lead of the second set at 20-19 after a Morris-Rogers hustle play. The Trailblazers shut out the Cougars from there and reached Set Point at 24-19 on a James kill just inside the line en route to the win and splitting the first two sets.

The Trailblazers went up 2-1 in the match but it wasn’t easy in the third set. VU and Kalamazoo Valley were tied at 9-all but the Cougars reeled off a 6-1 run to go up 15-10 and prompt a VU timeout. Kalamazoo Valley remained ahead at 18-15 when the Trailblazers began chipping away. VU finally tied it up at 20-20 on a Kalamazoo Valley hitting error and the Trailblazers crept in front, 21-20. The teams traded points before VU reached Set Point on a Persico kill on the back line.

VU finished off the 25-22 set on a James ace.

The Trailblazers dropped the fourth set because a 6-5 lead on an ace by Armando was the last VU lead of the set. Four points was as close as VU would get in falling 18-25 to the Cougars and setting up the fifth set.

In the fifth, the Trailblazers had to play from behind yet again and finally tied it up at 13-13, benefitted from a Cougar hitting error to go in front 14-13 and landed the win on an Armando ace to claim the 3-2 verdict.
Persico and Armando had 14 and 12 kills, respectively, and Burgess registered 30 assists. VU had 11 aces against Kalamazoo Valley, led by Burgess’ four and James’ three.

VU vs. Lake Michigan
VU enjoyed a lead throughout the opening set against Lake Michigan. Four straight Trailblazer points put VU in command, 23-14, before the Red Hawks scored twice. Armando finished off the 25-16 win with a kill after VU outscored Lake Michigan, 19-10 from an early 6-6 tie.

The second set saw another slow start by VU as Lake Michigan posted an early 5-0 lead before the Trailblazers got on the board. After VU scored, the Red Hawks reeled off six more unanswered to gain a seemingly-insurmountable 11-1 cushion. VU called timeout with Lake Michigan on top 15-4 and hung on until outscoring the Red Hawks 6-1 at one juncture to get within 16-10. The deficit decreased to 19-17 for the Trailblazers and Lake Michigan called a timeout of its own, but a James kill wound up knotting the score at 22-all.

Things were tied again at 23-23 but VU held the Red Hawks scoreless the rest of the way on the way to the win and a 2-0 advantage.

The Trailblazers won the match by breaking Lake Michigan’s spirit early in the third. VU scored seven in a row early and then assembled a 9-0 streak to go up 10-2. But the Trailblazers weren’t done. With Burgess serving, a 12-4 VU rampage made it 23-7. It was 24-8 when the Red Hawks managed to score four straight but another Armando kill capped off the set and the win.

James registered 13 more kills and Burgess turned in 23 more assists in the Lake Michigan match. Burgess also had 12 digs while Burgess finished with 10 and Morris-Rogers had nine digs.

VU vs. Parkland
The Trailblazers were within striking distance of the powerful Cobras at 16-11 in the first set. But Parkland used a 5-1 streak to go up 21-12. The opening set was secured when Parkland held VU to just one more point while closing it out.

The Trailblazers knocked the Cobras back on their heels to start the second set and VU was up 4-0 before Parkland scored. At that point, it looked like it was going to be more of the same for the Trailblazers as Parkland launched a 7-2 run on the way to a larger 14-7 streak. VU managed to close the gap to 16-14 and 17-15, but the Cobras opened up a 20-15 lead and played nearly even with VU the rest of the way for the second victory of the match.

Set No. 3 was never in doubt for Parkland. The Cobras quickly led 8-2 and stretched the advantage to 19-10. The uphill climb from there was too much for the Trailblazers as Parkland finished off the match.
VU will now have a week off in the schedule before traveling to Cincinnati State for the Oct. 9 and 10 Pink-Out Classic.

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At VU, we believe sports play an important role in the overall purpose of an educational institution. We support a well-rounded intercollegiate sports program for both men and women and have a strong presence in the NJCAA where we can claim several national championships. But we are equally proud of our individual All-American and All-American Academic athletes who have used their talent to continue their education at four-year colleges.

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