UIC Volleyball Drops Five-Set Thriller at Oakland
Nov. 15, 2013
ROCHESTER, Mich. - The UIC volleyball team (8-21, 3-10 Horizon League) put down 61 kills and led 2-1 but allowed Oakland to hit at a .415 clip over the final two sets in a 3-2 loss (20-25, 26-24, 22-25, 25-14, 19-17) Friday night. Oakland (14-14, 8-5 HL) received 26 kills from Cassie Pelloni, which is the highest kill performance in the Horizon League this season.
UIC picked up two blocks and held Oakland to eight kills in a 25-20 first set victory. The Golden Grizzlies held a 19-14 advantage in the second set before the Flames tied the score at 24-24 on Sara Sternard's sixth kill of the match. A kill by Pelloni and Kara Johnson's attack error ended the set and tied the match at 1-1.
UIC held a 21-16 advantage in the third set on Maggie Strus' fifth kill of the season before Oakland knotted the score at 22-22. The Flames regained the lead on a Johnson kill and two Oakland attack errors gave UIC 2-1 advantage.
The fourth set was never close in a 25-14 Oakland win as the Golden Grizzlies hit at a blistering .517 clip with 16 kills on 29 attempts. The fifth set featured 17 ties and six lead changes as the Flames continued to respond to kills from Pelloni and Melissa Deatsch. Molly McCoy put down four kills while Sternard added three kills of her own in the set.
The Flames served for match point at 14-13 following McCoy's third kill of the frame but a Deatsch kill knotted the set at 14-14. Sternard tied the score at 17-17 but consecutive kills from Pelloni and Deatsch ended the long and decisive fifth set.
Junior Molly McCoy collected 17 kills for the second consecutive match. She accomplished the feat on 46 attempts for her third consecutive double-digit performance and 13th of the season. McCoy put down four kills in the second, third and fifth sets.
Freshman Kara Johnson recorded her fourth consecutive double-digit kill effort with 16 kills on 49 attempts. She led the Flames with six kills on 20 attempts in the long second set.
Junior Sara Sternard put down 15 kills on 45 attempts for her team-high 17th double-digit performance of the season. She added three total blocks and had four kills on nine attempts in the first set victory.
Senior MaryKate Imrie recorded 46 assists and a season-high 17 digs for her fifth double-double of the season. She now owns 3,592 career assists and seeks to become just the third UIC player in program history to surpass 3,600 assists against Wright State Saturday.
Redshirt sophomore Tracy Friel set a new career high with 18 digs. Friel, who compiled five digs in the first set, has nine double-digit efforts this season.
Senior Justine Garcia compiled 15 digs while junior Maggie Strus added 16 of her own. Garcia reached 20 double-digit performances this season while Strus jumped two spots in the program rankings. Strus' 1,226 career digs rank eighth in program history. She can move into seventh all-time if she collects 17 more digs this season.
The Flames conclude the regular season with a Saturday match (Nov. 16) at Wright State. First serve is scheduled for 4 p.m. CST inside C.J. McLin Gymnasium. UIC swept Wright State on Oct. 18 inside the Flames Athletic Center.
UIC remains one win behind Cleveland State for the sixth and final spot of the Horizon League Championship. Cleveland State (14-12, 4-9 HL) lost to Green Bay Friday night and plays host to Milwaukee Saturday.