VU Volleyball upsets NJCAA No. 18 Wallace St. to improve to 7-1 on season - Athletics

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VU Volleyball upsets NJCAA No. 18 Wallace St. to improve to 7-1 on season

The Vincennes University Volleyball Team registered a signature victory Thursday when the Trailblazers upset previously unbeaten NJCAA Div. I No. 18 Wallace State at the VU P.E. Complex.

VU improved to 7-1 with the straight-sets victory but the match was nothing easy. The Trailblazers fell behind early in the first two sets, including a 0-9 deficit in the opening set. But VU refused to give up and battled back in both of the first two sets for wins. The Trailblazers then took control in the third set and held the Lions at bay to close out the contest.

VU won 27-25, 29-27, 25-18 to secure its third win over a nationally-ranked opponent in the early season.

Freshman Gabrielle Medrado turned in her second triple-double of the season vs. Wallace State. She registered 12 kills, 11 assists and 11 digs. Freshman Cali Topolski had 13 assists, freshman Hannah Bullock contributed 12 digs, sophomore Jordan Sprinkle was credited with 11 kills and sophomore Abigail Bergman had 11 digs. Freshman Erica Kik finished with four blocks and sophomore Kassidie Hayes had three blocks.

Trailblazer Coach Gary Sien was pleased with his team’s performance vs. Wallace State and he said the win was a learning opportunity as well as an achievement.

“It’s a young season, of course, but I feel like we might be seeing a group of student-athletes growing up right before our eyes,” Sien said. “Our players are realizing that, when you play top-level Division One teams like Wallace State, you have to match their intensity. We told our players tonight that this win was considered an upset and the wins over Owens and Grand Rapids were considered upsets, but there will be a time when wins like this won’t be upsets; we’ll be expected to win matches like this.”

The Trailblazers dug themselves into a deep hole in the first set, falling behind 0-9 and then 2-12 and 4-14 before mounting a stunning comeback on the Lions. VU eventually pulled to within 12-17 on a hit by Kik. With Topolski serving, Kik registered a kill after a long rally. Following a point by Wallace State, freshman Genesis Milisde’s kill launched VU on another run. The Trailblazers scored a point on a hit by Sprinkle and another point off a serve by Bullock to make it 16-18 and prompt a Lions timeout.

After the timeout, VU added another point on a Sprinkle hit and Medrado added a point to tie up the game at 18-all.

The first set remained close the rest of the way. It was tied at 23-23 when Wallace State pulled ahead, 24-23, on a Trailblazer service error. But Hayes knotted the score again at 24-all. The teams traded points and Medrado put VU up, 26-25, with a kill before the Trailblazers sealed the opening set, 27-25.

In the second set, VU trailed by scores of 15-20 and 16-21. That’s when Hayes and Sprinkle teamed up on a combination block and Medrado had a service ace to make it 18-21. VU turned that deficit into a tie score at 25-25 and then pulled into a 27-27 deadlock. Medrado’s kill pushed the Trailblazers into a 28-27 advantage and VU then scored again to go up 2-0 in the match.

The Trailblazers turned the tables in the third set and took an early lead until the Lions tied it up at 10-all. But VU scored six unanswered points to open up a lead. Wallace State then scored a pair of points of their own before the Trailblazers scored three more straight points. VU was clinging to a 20-18 advantage and capitalized on a Wallace State service error, a Sprinkle/Medrado block and a James kill to reach match-point at 24-18.

The sometimes surreal match came to an end appropriately enough when Milisde’s serve hit the top of the net and fell in for the 25-18 victory and the straight-sets win.

VU gets back into action Friday by hosting the Blazer Classic at the P.E. Complex. The Trailblazers will welcome Glen Oaks, Lake Land, Malcolm X, Mineral Area and Wallace State for 12 matches on the P.E. Complex and Bell Recreation Center floors. VU and Glen Oaks start things off at 4 p.m. Friday on the main floor, then return to the P.E. Complex at about 8 p.m. Friday night to take on Lake Land.

On Saturday, VU plays the second match of the day in the P.E. Complex, going against Malcolm X at 12 p.m. noon. The Trailblazers’ final match of the Blazer Classic will be at about 2 p.m. Saturday vs. Mineral Area.

VU Volleyball-Wallace State Box Score link:
http://njcaa.org/sports/wvball/2016-17/div1/boxscores/20160908_aiyi.xml

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