UIC Falls Short In Championship Match, 3-1

Kelsey Safranek and Maggie Strus were named to the all-tournament team.
Kelsey Safranek and Maggie Strus were named to the all-tournament team.

Nov. 18, 2012

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CLEVELAND, Ohio - The second-seeded UIC volleyball team concluded its 2012 season in the championship match of the Horizon League Tournament. The Flames posted a first-set victory, but fell to No. 1 Cleveland State, 3-1 (21-25, 25-23, 28-26, 25-20) Sunday inside the Woodling Gymnasium in Cleveland, Ohio.

Senior Kelsey Safranek and junior Maggie Strus were named to the all-tournament team. In the two matches, Safranek had 27 kills, while Strus earned 45 digs.

Seniors Safranek, Aubrey Sniegowski, Janise Dismuke and Nicole Allgood collected double-digit kills in their final match with the Flames. Sniegowski led UIC with 18 (.385), followed by Dismuke (14), Allgood (11) and Safranek with 10. Allgood and Safranek also posted double-digit digs with 20 and 16, respectively.

Junior setter MaryKate Imrie earned her 18th double-double of the season - the most in the Horizon League. She dished out 54 assists and collected 10 digs.

Strus piloted the Flames defense with 22 digs. Dismuke collected five total blocks.

Seniors Aubrey Sniegowski and Nicole Allgood paced the Flames in the first set with four kills apiece. Allgood hit at .500, while sophomore Sara Sternard had three kills at .750. The Flames proved to be more consistent in the opening frame hitting at .270 to the Vikings' .139.

Cleveland State opened the set with a four-point run, 5-2, before the Flames went on to outscore Cleveland State 7-1 and gain a 10-8 advantage. Through the remainder of the game, the teams played fairly even, but UIC proved to gain momentum in small surges, including a three-point run to capture a 15-12 lead.

The Flames continued to improve on their score and captured the first set in a 25-21 decision.

Moving in to the second set, UIC opened with a three-point lead and the Vikings battled back from the deficit and the team's found a 6-6 tie, the first of five ties in the set. Cleveland State then collected a four-point surge for a 10-7 lead. Following a timeout, Janise Dismuke hammered down three consecutive UIC kills, followed by a kill from Sniegowski to place the score at 11-11. Despite a tough battle, the Vikings overcame the Flames with a 25-23 win.

The third set sent both teams grinding for each point. The Flames opened up with a four-point lead, before the Vikings went on to outscore UIC 10-2 (10-6). Then, with a five-point spurt, UIC gained an 11-10 advantage. The set had 10 tie scores, but Cleveland State captured the set in a 28-26 result.

With Cleveland State leading the match 2-1, the Vikings concluded the match with a 25-20 victory and claim the Horizon League Championship crown.