Release  Craig Hammel ·

The nine Horizon League volleyball teams opened the 2015 season this weekend. Valparaiso and Wright State both captured tournament titles, while Cleveland State took three of the four matches it played at the Blue Raider Bash.

Below is a team-by-team recap of the first weekend of the season.

Cleveland State at Blue Raider Bash
defeated Middle Tennessee, 3-0 (25-16, 25-23, 25-14)
defeated Indiana, 3-2 (25-21, 22-25, 21-25, 25-21, 15-13)
defeated Notre Dame, 3-2 (25-18, 21-25, 21-25, 25-22, 15-13)
lost to Bowling Green, 3-2 (26-28, 25-20, 20-25, 25-12, 15-11)

The Vikings opened the regular season at Middle Tennessee, taking three of the four contests they played, including two five-set wins over Power 5 schools. Christina Toth led the Vikings in kills in three of the four matches as she reached double-figures in every match. She had 60 kills over the weekend, and had 17 in both the Indiana and Bowling Green matches. Preseason All-League selection Grace Kauth recorded CSU’s first double-double of the season with 26 kills and 16 digs in the Vikings’ win over Notre Dame. Dayna Roberts had 58 digs on the weekend, leading the team in three of four matches.

Green Bay at Rocket Invitational
defeated Portland, 3-1 (25-22, 25-22, 15-25, 25-18)
defeated Toledo, 3-1 (25-20, 25-22, 22-25, 25-23)
lost to Bradley, 3-0 (27-25, 25-11, 25-18)

The Phoenix opened the season by winning two of three matches at Toledo’s Rocket Invitational. Jillian Bauer and Megan Powers were named to the All-Tournament team. Powers led GB with 31 kills during the event, while Bauer had a team-best 61 digs, including 27 in the four-set win over Toledo. Green Bay had a balanced offensive attack all weekend, especially in the Toledo win where five players recorded at least 10 kills in the match.

Milwaukee hosted Pepsi Panther Invitational
defeated Western Michigan, 3-1 (25-19, 25-21, 22-25, 25-22)
defeated Furman, 3-2 (18-25, 25-23, 17-25, 25-11, 15-12)
lost to Missouri State, 3-0 (25-23, 25-18, 25-22)

Milwaukee took two of three matches at its own invitational to start the season. The Panthers placed Kayla Price and Myanna Ruiz on the six-member All-Tournament team. UWM had four players in double figures in kills in the win over Western Michigan, led by Sammi Herron with 18. Maggie Dunbar had a match-high 25 kills on a .465 hitting percentage in the five-set win over Furman. Price finished the weekend with 122 assists, while Ruiz led the Panthers with 62 total digs.

Northern Kentucky at Queen City Classic
lost to Eastern Michigan, 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 33-31)
lost to Xavier, 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-8)
lost to Cincinnati, 3-0 (26-24, 25-23, 25-22)

NKU began the year with three matches in Cincinnati. Mel Stewart became the 17th member of the program’s 1,000-dig club during the weekend. She had 40 digs on the weekend. Keely Creamer led the NKU offense in all three matches, finishing the tournament with 38 kills. She had a match-high 18 kills versus Eastern Michigan.

Oakland at Michigan Invitational
lost to West Virginia, 3-2 (25-20, 27-25, 18-25, 16-25, 15-11)
lost to Michigan, 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-18)
defeated George Washington, 3-2 (20-25, 13-25, 25-17, 25-22, 15-11)

The Golden Grizzlies closed the Michigan Invitational by coming back from a two-set deficit to defeat George Washington. Melissa Deatsch (16 kills), Jessica Dood (15) and Cassie Pelloni (14) led the Oakland attack in the match. Deatsch and Dood were both named to the All-Tournament team. Dood finished the tournament with a team-best 42 kills, while Deatsch had 35. Pelloni added 34 kills.

UIC at IPFW Invitational
lost to Eastern Illinois, 3-1 (25-23, 19-25, 25-18, 25-16)
defeated  IPFW, 3-1 (25-23, 26-28, 25-21, 25-23)
lost to Central Michigan, 3-2 (27-25, 21-25, 25-14, 22-25, 15-11)

The Flames knocked off host IPFW in their opening weekend tournament. UIC won at least one set in every match of the tournament. Horizon League Preseason Offensive Player of the Year Stephenee Yancy got off to a fast start in the 2015 season as she led UIC with 61 kills and hit .436 in the three matches. She was joined on the All-Tournament team by Nicole Johnson who had 137 assists as she directed UIC’s offense. Alyssa Ehrhardt, playing in her first tournament for the Flames, had 42 kills and tied for the team-led with 35 digs.

Valparaiso at Chattanooga Classic
defeated Chattanooga, 3-2 (16-25, 25-23, 15-25, 25-22, 16-14)
defeated Eastern Kentucky, 3-0 (25-15, 25-12, 27-25)
defeated Troy, 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-21)

Valparaiso started the 2015 season by capturing the Chattanooga Classic Title. It’s the fourth consecutive in-season tournament title for the Crusaders. Taylor Graboski was named the Tournament MVP, while Emily Campbell and Morganne Longoria joined her on the All-Tournament team. Graboski had 29 kills on a team-best .344 hitting percentage. In Valpo’s 3-2 win over Chattanooga, Graboski closed the match with two straight kills in the fifth set. Campbell had a team-high 39 kills and Longoria led Valpo’s defensive effort with 50 digs.

Wright State hosted Holiday Inn Classic
defeated Niagara, 3-1 (25-22, 25-20, 28-30, 25-19)
defeated Tennessee Tech 3-0 (25-10, 25-19, 25-15)
defeated Evansville, 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 27-25)

The Raiders opened the 2015 season by capturing its first tournament title since the 2009 season. Wright State won nine of the 10 sets it played on the opening weekend. Katie Klusman represented the Raiders on the All-Tournament team as she recorded 49 kills in the three matches on a .327 attack percentage and also added 26 digs. Klusman had 27 kills on a .380 hitting percentage in WSU’s four-set win over Niagara. Megan Hopkins added 34 kills on the weekend and Marisa Aiello added 31 kills on a team-best .412 hitting percentage. Maddie Lohmeier directed the WSU offense that hit .254 on the weekend with 125 assists. Jessie Thornton led the defensive effort with 39 digs.

Youngstown State at Rocket Invitational
lost to Bradley, 3-2 (25-19, 18-25, 27-25, 15-25, 15-11)
lost to Portland, 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-21)
defeated Toledo, 3-0 (25-13, 26-24, 27-25)

The Penguins closed the Rocket Invitational by sweeping host Toledo for its first victory of the season. Horizon League Preseason Setter of the Year Val Jeffery represented YSU on the All-Tournament team after leading the Penguin offense with 101 assists. Sam Brown led the YSU offense in two of the three matches finishing the tournament with a team-best 36 kills. Nikki Thompson led the defense with 58 digs. Freshman Sarah Varcolla announced her presence to the team by tying the school record for service aces with seven in her first collegiate match. She finished the tournament with 11 aces overall.

Tags: Cleveland State - Volleyball · Green Bay - Volleyball · Horizon League - Volleyball · Milwaukee - Volleyball · Northern Kentucky - Volleyball · Oakland - Volleyball · UIC - Volleyball · Valparaiso - Volleyball · Wright State - Volleyball · Youngstown State - Volleyball
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