Volleyball Aces Youngstown State, 30-24, 23-30, 32-30, 30-19|
Sept. 24, 2004
Chicago, Ill. - University of Illinois at Chicago freshman Katarina Nedeljkovic hasn't been in the United States for very long, but the Serbia and Montenegro native had her coming out party on Friday night, as she led the Flames with 15 kills and eight service aces to push UIC to the 30-24, 23-30, 32-30, 30-19 victory over Youngstown State in the Horizon League opener at the Flames Athletic Center.
Nedeljkovic's eight service aces ties her for the sixth most in school history for a single-match, with four other players. The Flames tied a team-season high with 15 aces on the evening.
"(Nedeljkovic) played a great match, came out and played very, very well," UIC Head Coach Nancy Mueller said. "She had an injury earlier in the week, played through the pain, so you have to commend her for that."
"Her serving was very aggressive and very tough."
With the victory, UIC improves to 5-9 on the season and 1-0 in Horizon League play, while the Penguins drop to 7-6 on the campaign and 0-1 in conference action.
The victory marked UIC's first win in a Horizon League opener in four years when the Flames swept Cleveland State on September 29, 2000.
"It was good to get off on the right foot," Mueller said. "We knew that (Youngstown State) wasn't going to roll over and just hand it to us.
"I think they're going to shake up the Horizon League," Mueller continued "It was good for me to see a little bit of what to expect in the conference."
The Flames also received solid efforts from Ambria Springer (13 kills), Megan Colins (11 kills) and Dawn Strahanoski (10 kills). Sophomore setter Katie Kozak notched a double-double of 55 assists and 11 digs on the evening.
"We had players come off the bench and perform," Mueller said. "It was a team victory, it wasn't one or two players playing well."
The Flames also welcomed the return of sophomore outside hitter Julie Popp for the first time in two years, after battling through various leg injuries during her UIC career.
"It was great to see Julie Popp out there," Mueller said.
Youngstown State was paced by the trio of Sarah Wellner, Jessica Fraley and Melanie Pounders who combined for 45 of the Penguins' 57 kills. Wellner led the way with 17 kills, followed by Fraley (16 kills) and Pounders (12 kills).
UIC will be back in action on Saturday afternoon, as they will host Cleveland State for `Parents Night' at 4:00 p.m. in the Flames Athletic Center.