Volleyball Falls to Hoyas at Active Ankle Challenge
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The Western Michigan volleyball team built a two-set lead but were unable to fend off Georgetown as the Hoyas defeated the Broncos 3-2 (25-16, 25-19, 25-27, 20-25, 10-25) at the Active Ankle Challenge hosted by Florida. With the loss, the Broncos fall to 6-3 on the season; they will face the hosting Gators in the nightcap at 7 p.m.
WMU hit .455 and .382 in the first two sets, respectively, and had a strong offensive day overall; four Broncos reached double-digits in kills, with two setting career-highs in the category. Rachel Sheffer had a team-high 17 kills and hit .286, and freshman Alysia Baznik had her third double-double of the season with 14 kills and a career-high 14 digs. Stephenee Yancy finished with 16 kills and five blocks, and Claire Gerwig added 12 kills, three digs, and two blocks. The Broncos out-blocked the Hoyas 11.0 - 6.0 and recorded 70 digs as a team; Lena Oliver had a match-high 23 digs, and three other Broncos - Rose (15), Baznik (14), and Kaycee Acree (10) - reached double figures.
WMU got hot in the first set against the Hoyas, breaking out of an early doldrum and cruising for a win in the opening stanza. The Hoyas' Dani White pulled the score to within 9-8, but Yancy notched a kill to open the lead back to two points. Gerwig and Yancy combined for a block on the next point, Pawlik and Yancy recorded a block one point after, and Yancy downed a kill on the last point of the stretch to give the Broncos a 13-8 lead in the set and force a Georgetown timeout. Gerwig mad the Broncos the first to 15 with a kill to make it 15-9, and she combined with Ave Stout to block White and give the Broncos a 19-14 lead. With the Broncos leading 20-16, the Broncos notched kills on five straight points, with Yancy scoring two straight to close the set for the 25-16 win.
It took a little longer for the Broncos to get themselves up to speed in the second set, but the Broncos took hold late and never looked back. THe teams traded points early on, but Yancy broke a 10-10 tie to give WMU the lead for good. The closest the Hoyas would get the rest of the set was one point, when Annalee Abell notched a kill to make it 16-15, but Baznik notched a kill to extend the lead to two points, and Gerwig made it a 19-15 lead with a kill. WMU scored three straight points at the end of the set to seal the win, with Sheffer bookending a kill from Stout to make it 25-19.
The Hoyas began to catch fire hitting in the third set, hitting .305 over the final three sets, and held the Broncos to just a .139 hitting percentage in that span. The Hoyas held the lead nearly throughout the entire third set and held off a late Bronco rally to win 27-25, and held off a similar rally late in the fourth set to win 25-20. Now with the momentum, the Hoyas opened the fifth set on a 7-3 run, coasting to a 15-10 set win.