KOKOMO, Ind. – The Indiana University Kokomo volleyball team may have a new look but picked up right where they left off, taking down Marian University to open the season in five. The IU Kokomo Cougars captured a thrilling five-set victory, defeating the Knights 25-18, 22-25, 25-19, 22-25, 15-7.
“I am so very happy and proud of our team’s performance,” said IUK head coach Heather Hayes. “I knew we have some depth and talent this season but wasn’t sure how we would respond early in the year. We had a test right out of the gate and couldn’t be prouder of the grit and toughness the team demonstrated.”
In the first set, the Cougars got out to a late start falling to a 3-7 deficit. A pair of digs from Kristi Elson and a kill from Erinn Adams sparked a run of four points tying the game at 7-7. The two teams battled neck and neck until the Cougars finally broke ahead late in the match with a four-point rally to make the score 18-14. A Knight hitting error finished the set with a score of 25-18.
IU Kokomo used their momentum from set one to jump to an early 11-6 lead. A few hitting errors and a serve receive breakdown caused the Cougars to call a timeout with a score of 14 all. Unable to regain control in the back-court Marian grew their lead to 14-19. A late service run by Sarah Morin got the Cougars back in the game at 22-24. However, they were unable to finish the set falling to the Knights 22-25.
The third and fourth set was played very tight between both the Cougars and the Knights with no early leads. Molly Ottersbach was a spark for the Cougars in set three with six kills. Ottersbach helped her team win the third set comfortably with a score of 25-19. The Cougars started the fourth set flat allowing Marian to go on a long service run. However, IU Kokomo tried to regain a lead with a late service run and a kill from Morgan Weir forcing Marian to call a timeout. Yet the Knights came back with a kill to win set four with a score of 22-25.
IU Kokomo came out on fire in the decision-making set gaining an early lead of 8-2. From there on, there was no looking back. Nyssa Baker took charge of the set with five kills in addition to scoring the game point. As a team, the Cougars rallied to finish the match to defeat Marian with a score of 15-7
The Cougars had three players end the game with double-digit kills. Leading the pack was Baker with 19 kills hitting .326. Following was McKenna Lundy with 11 and Weir with 10. Not only was the Cougar’s offense effective tonight, but the Cougars finished the match with four players with double-digit digs.
Leading the defensive push was Macee Rudy with 22 digs. Lundy finished the night with her first career double-double adding 19 digs along with her 11 kills. Other key defensive players include Kendal Williams and Morin.
“I was also happy to see not just the players on the court be focused and engaged but our sideline was great about this too,” added Hayes. “That’s a nice team win.”
Cougars (4-1 following a 3-2 loss to the University of Northern Ohio in the finale of the Grace College tournament) returns to the Cougar Gym on Sept. 15 against Brescia University at 1 p.m. in the opener of River States Conference action.
WOMEN’S TENNIS FALLS TO HUNTINGTON
The IU Kokomo women’s tennis team opened up its second season with a 2-7 loss to Huntington University. The Cougars faced Huntington for the second time in two years and improved from last years finish. Taking points at three doubles and six singles. The second edition of the team includes four new faces and returning seven from the inaugural team.
“I was pleased with our season opener, even though we came up short,” said head coach Kristine Miller. “I was definitely proud of the effort and attitude of our team. There were many great rallies and points, but we just weren’t able to convert too many games.”
One doubles featured the tandem of Adrianna Ward and Katie McCoy, who dropped their match 1-8 to Meg Dolde and Morgan Fitzpatrick
Two doubles was a competitive match between the pair of Kelsey Kohlmorgen and Hannah Hudson eventually losing 5-8 to Lisa Colling and Anastaiia Evstifeeva
“It was a battle the entire time,” said Miller. “Hannah Hudson did a great job representing us at one singles in her first college match. It is nerve-wracking to go out and transition from the high school game to the college level, but I think Hannah handled herself well.”
Three doubles ended as a forfeit by Huntington due to injury.
In singles play, Huntington was dominant taking one through five and forfeiting at six singles due to an injury. At five singles Kelsey Kohlmorgen fought back and forth with Molly Burton of Huntington dropping the decisive third set 6-10.
The 2018-19 Cougars roster includes: Brianne Abrahamson (West Lafayette), Katie Hart (Lebanon), Hudson (Fountain Central), Kohlmorgen (Madison-Grant), Danielle McCord (Peru), McCoy (Marion), Betsy Powell (Maconaquah), Makenzie Quinn (Western), Mary Sayre (Alexandria), Ward (Peru) and Laura White (Eastern).
“We have work to do, but overall it was a great start to the season,” said Miller.
The Cougars (0-2 after a 9-0 loss to Bethel College) returns home to Foster Park on Sept. 8 against Anderson University at 10 a.m.
Courtesy of IU Kokomo athletics