The 2013 Horizon League regular season concluded on Saturday and now six teams will turn their attention to the League tournament set to begin on Friday in Milwaukee.
Milwaukee finished the regular season with a 12-2 League record to win the regular season championship and will host the tournament at its home facility, the Klotsche Center. Valparaiso finished second with a 10-4 conference mark. Both teams will receive a bye into the semifinals on Saturday.
The tournament will begin on Friday with two quarterfinal matchups. The afternoon will begin with a 4:30 p.m. CT match between the fifth-seed Youngstown State and the fourth-seed Green Bay. At 7:00 p.m., the sixth-seed Cleveland State will face third-seed Oakland.
All matches at the championship will be streamed on HorizonLeague.com.
2013 Horizon League Volleyball Championship Schedule
Friday, November 22
4:30 p.m. CT – (5) Youngstown State vs. (4) Green Bay
7:00 p.m. CT – (6) Cleveland State vs. (3) Oakland
Saturday, November 23
4:30 p.m. CT – Lowest remaining seed from QF vs. (1) Milwaukee
7:00 p.m. CT – Highest remaining seed from QF vs. (2) Valparaiso
Sunday, November 24
1:00 p.m. CT – Championship Match
Volleyball Scoreboard (Nov. 16)
Cleveland State def., Milwaukee, 3-2 (25-23, 27-25, 24-26, 23-25, 15-9)
Green Bay def., Youngstown State, 3-0 (28-25, 25-17, 25-21)
Oakland def., Valparaiso, 3-2 (25-20, 24-26, 28-26, 20-25, 15-12)
UIC def., Wright State, 3-1 (15-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-23)
Cleveland State 3, Milwaukee 2
The Cleveland State volleyball team ended the regular season on a high note Saturday afternoon, defeating league-leading Milwaukee, 3-2. With the Senior Day victory, the Vikings finish the regular season at 15-12 overall and 5-9 in league play. Saturday's win also solidified Cleveland State's spot in the Horizon League Tournament – which will begin on Friday, November 22.
For the seventh time this season, CSU was forced to play a five-set match, picking up just its third five-set victory on the year. Set scores against Milwaukee were 25-23, 27-25, 24-26, 23-25, 15-9.
Maggie Hannon and Kerry Winchester each notched their first double-doubles of the season – Hannon with 16 kills and a career-high 10 blocks, and Winchester with a pair of career-highs with 17 kills and 10 digs. Christina Toth also set a career-high with 14 kills against the Panthers, and was just shy of a double-double with nine digs.
Along with Hannon, Winchester and Toth, the Vikings also got double-digit kills from Grace Kauth (13 kills) and Kelly Kiger (10), while Aaliyah Slappy added a career-best seven. Annie Djukic and Dayna Roberts each notched 33 assists on the match, while Kauth led the Viking defense with 13 digs and Nikki Holmes added 12.
During the opening two sets, the two teams combined for 24 tie scores and 11 lead changes, as neither team was able to gain control until the very end of the frames. During the first frame, CSU was able to gain a four-point lead at the 22-18 mark on a Winchester kill, but Milwaukee climbed their way back in the match and fought off the first set point, before the Vikings were able to close the frame on a Toth kill.
The second set was much like the first, as CSU was able to gain the advantage midway through the frame, but let the Panthers back in the set, with six ties during the final 13 points. With the score tied at 25-25, CSU was finally able to post back-to-back points, ending the frame on Toth and Kiger kills.
Milwaukee then claimed the next two frames, forcing the fifth and deciding set. Once again, the two teams battled throughout the first part of the fifth set, until CSU was able to earn a four-point lead on a 5-1 run. During this stretch the Vikings had three kills from Winchester, one from Hannon and a Djukic service ace. The Vikings then used this momentum to close the set on a 5-3 run, ending the match on a Kauth kill and Kauth service ace.
As a team, the Vikings posted a .326 hitting percentage with a season-high 81 kills, while they held the Panthers to a .258 clip. CSU combined for 23 blocks – the eighth time this season that the Vikings have had at least 20 blocks in a match.
Green Bay 3, Youngstown State 0
The Green Bay volleyball team wrapped up its 2013 regular season on Saturday evening with a 3-0 (28-26, 25-17, 25-21) victory over Youngstown State (15-14, 7-7 HL) at the Beeghly Center.
With a 9-5 Horizon League record (14-13 overall), the Phoenix ends its schedule in a tie for third place in the conference standings, but will be the No. 4 seed in next weekend’s Horizon League Championship due to Oakland (9-5) owning the tiebreaker. Green Bay and No. 5 YSU will meet again next Friday at 4:30 p.m. CT at the Klotsche Center in Milwaukee (No. 1 seed).
It was senior Leah Van Zeeland (Kaukauna, Wis.) leading the Phoenix on Saturday for the second day in a row, racking up a match-high 11 kills while hitting .333. Freshman Shannon Hurley (Connellsville, Pa.) also reached double digits with 10 kills, five of which came in the exciting 28-26 first-set win.
Sophomore Emily Riese (Fond du Lac, Wis.) had a double-double for the Phoenix, registering 30 assists and 14 digs.
Leading the way for the Penguins was Nichele Johnson, who tied Van Zeeland for the match high with 11 kills, hitting an impressive .450.
Oakland 3, Valparaiso 2
Cassie Pelloni earned 22 kills and Melissa Deatsch notched a second consecutive double-double with 20 kills, 11 digs and two service aces as Oakland (15-14, 9-5 HL) defeated Valpo (24-7, 10-4 HL) in five sets on Saturday afternoon's Senior Night in the Athletics Center O'rena. With the win, the Golden Grizzlies improve their seed to No. 3 heading into the Horizon League Tournament next weekend. OU won with set scores of 25-20, 24-26, 28-26, 20-25 and 15-12.
"It was really competitive and certainly shows the improvements we've made," said head coach Rob Beam. "I'm really proud of our team and of our seniors Alissa Valentine and Alexis Rutter. They played tremendous volleyball tonight. We really had a great team effort tonight in the win."
Brooke Wadsworth blocked exceptionally well in the match earning one solo block and 10 block assists. Alissa Valentine added 28 helpers and Ciara Schultz had 26 of her own and two service aces. Oakland's hitting showed inconsistency with the best percentage coming in the fifth set (.250) and the worst being the fourth set (.048). Overall, the teams were nearly identical in hitting efficiency as Valpo recorded .180 and Oakland came in slightly better at .188.
Oakland began the first set trailing Valpo in the early goings but gained some momentum off a kill by Jessica Dood, turning a two-point deficit to a two-point lead at 9-7. Oakland kept control for the remainder of the set and Deatsch would end it with a kill, 25-20. In the second set, Oakland continued to carry momentum early but squandered its lead when Valpo went on a seven-point run to make the score 18-13. Oakland made the set close by coming back to tie the score at 24-24, but it was not enough to take the set and Valpo evened the match at 1-1 by winning 26-24.
The third set of the match was tight the whole way and the teams traded leads throughout, both looking for that second win of the match. Oakland hit .245 and Valpo hit .256 and the set would go into extra points for the second time on the night, but Oakland was victorious in the end, 28-26. In the fourth set, the Crusaders took early initiative and set the tone, refusing to surrender. The score was tied at 19-19 before Valpo went on a five-point run to all but close out the set. The Crusaders were victorious 25-20.
The two teams headed into set five knotted at two sets a piece. Valpo would lead briefly, but Oakland wasted little time in taking over. The score was tied 5-5 before Deatsch recorded yet another kill to begin OU's quest to end the match. Pelloni earned the final kill causing the O'rena to erupt as the Grizzlies earned their second five-set win of the weekend.
UIC 3, Wright State 1
Junior Sara Sternard tied her career high with 19 kills and the UIC volleyball team (9-21, 4-10 Horizon League) defeated Wright State in four sets (15-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-23) Saturday afternoon inside McLin Gymnasium. The Flames ended the regular season one League win short of qualifying for postseason play as Cleveland State (15-12, 5-9 HL) defeated league-leading Milwaukee, 3-2, Saturday to solidify the sixth and final spot of the Horizon League Championship, which will begin on Nov. 22.
Wright State (6-26, 0-14 Horizon League) outhit UIC (.140-.121) but the Flames put down four more kills (51-47). The Raiders also had 12 total blocks while the Flames collected seven.
Wright State put down 15 kills and forced eight UIC attack errors in a 25-15 first set victory. UIC held a 10-9 advantage in the second set following a Raider attack error and the Flames never relinquished the lead in a 25-23 win. Wright State trimmed the UIC lead to 24-23 but Kara Johnson’s fourth kill of the frame tied the match at 1-1.
Wright State tied the third set at 13-13 before UIC scored eight out of the next nine points. Sternard put down seven kills on 11 attempts in the set and UIC led 2-1 following a 25-21 victory.
The Flames held a 21-16 advantage in the fourth set but the Raiders rallied to tie the set at 23-23 following a Tracy Friel attack error. Back-to-back kills by Sternard and McCoy gave UIC its fourth Horizon League victory of the season.
Sternard only needed 37 attempts to put down 19 kills and record her team-high 18th double-digit performance of the season. She finished the 2013-14 campaign with a team-high 329 kills and owns 763 entering her senior season.
Sternard also collected 19 kills against Loyola Chicago earlier this month (Nov. 6). She finished with a .405 attack percentage against Wright State, the ninth time this season she hit over .400. Sternard also picked up two block assists and led the squad with 80 total blocks this season.
Senior MaryKate Imrie had 42 assists and 13 digs for her sixth double-double of the season. She finished her UIC career with 3,634 assists and 1,041 digs. Imrie’s assist total ranks third all-time in program history.
Senior Justine Garcia recorded her 21st double-digit dig effort of the season with 10 digs in the final match of her career. Garcia led UIC with 352 digs this season and concluded her UIC career with 1,036 digs. She also finished with a team-high 34 service aces after two aces against the Raiders.
Junior Maggie Strus tied a season-high with 24 digs. She also tallied 24 digs against Drake at the Hawkeye Invitational (Sept. 13). Strus finished the 2013-14 campaign with 298 digs and will enter her senior season with 1,250 career digs, which ranks seventh in program history. If she totals 282 digs as a senior, Strus will become UIC’s all-time dig leader.
Freshman Kara Johnson collected her fourth double-double of the season with 11 kills and 12 digs. Johnson capped her first season at UIC with 304 kills, 219 digs and 20 service aces.
Freshman Casey Harris set a new career high with 10 kills on 32 attempts. She also collected four block assists and one solo block against the Raiders. Harris concluded her freshman season with 153 kills and 73 total blocks, including a team-high 39 blocks during League play.
Junior Molly McCoy contributed seven kills on 27 attempts. She finished with 255 kills this season and will have 479 career kills entering her senior season. McCoy, who missed four matches in October, ranked second on the squad with 2.80 kills per set.