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Courtesy: Dennis Snyder

Broncos Snuff Flashes for Third Straight Win

Courtesy: Sean Fagan, Assistant Director of Media Relations
Release: 10/25/2013
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KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The Western Michigan women's volleyball team authored another total team effort in earning a shutout win, as the Broncos defeated the Kent State Golden Flashes 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-20) at University Arena on Friday. With the win, the Broncos improve to 13-9 overall, 6-3 in Mid-American Conference play. The win is the third straight for the Broncos, as well as the third straight shutout win; the last time the Broncos swept three opponents in a row was last season, when they dispatched Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, and Ball State from Oct. 26 - Nov. 2.

Alysia Baznik led the Broncos with 10 kills, but it was a balanced offensive effort that set the Broncos above the Golden Flashes; four different players recorded six kills or more, and the Broncos hit .243 as a team. The defense played a major role in the win, recording 10.0 team blocks and holding the Golden Flashes to just a .059 team hitting percentage. Lena Oliver tied the match-high with 15 digs, and Lexie Pawlik needed to record just 29 assists in three sets to set the Broncos to victory. Ave Stout finished with eight kills and a match-high seven blocks, while Richelle Ranney had nine kills and hit .316 in the win.

The relatively quick affair began with a lengthy first set, as the Broncos and Golden Flashes found themselves in a tight opening period of play. The Broncos took the lead for good midway through the set when Stout hit an over ball with a heavy shot for the bounce kill to make it 14-13, and Pawlik made it a two-point edge with a tip kill that made it 16-14. Kent State pulled to within 19-18 on a handling error by Pawlik, but Sheffer stopped the bleeding with a kill and the Flashes went on to commit four straight attack errors, giving WMU a 24-18 lead. Baznik silenced the Golden Flashes in the first set with a shot off the defender for the kill, giving the Broncos a 25-20 set win.

WMU caught fire early on in the second set to squash any drama, taking a 1-0 lead on a kill from Baznik and never once even allowing the Golden Flashes to tie the score. Claire Gerwig capped what ended up as a 7-1 run with a shot down the line, and Ranney's kill to make it 10-3 forced the Golden Flashes into their first timeout of the set. The Broncos were the first to 15 points when Ranney bashed another kill to make it 15-8, and the lead reached 10 points when a Kent State handling error gave the Broncos a 20-10 advantage. Sheffer finished off the set with tip kill over the blocker, making it 25-16.

The Broncos wouldn't ever trail in the third set, either, taking the lead on a 4-0 run to open the period and never looking back. Ranney served the Flashes tough to open the set, and Stout would factor in on two blocks (one solo, one with Baznik) to give the Broncos a 3-0 lead; Ranney notched an ace to cap the run and give the Broncos the momentum. The Golden Flashes got as close at 11-1, but Ranney stopped the rally and sparked a 5-1 run with a kill. Gillian Asque checked in and hit a roller for a kill to make it 20-13, and Baznik finished off the match with a kill down the line to make it 25-20.