Northern Kentucky University’s volleyball team concluded their play in the Tampa Classic on Aug. 30 after facing Florida Southern and Tampa, both ranked in the NCAA Division II preseason poll, and losing both matches.
In the first match, No. 9 nationally ranked Florida Southern posted a five-set victory against NKU.
Florida Southern won the first and second set of the match, by scores of 25-20 and 26-24, respectively; and NKU won the third and fourth sets of the match, both by scores of 25-22.
In the fifth set of the match, the Norse battled back from a late 12-10 deficit, with two consecutive kills by senior Kelsey Wesaw to tie the set, but a NKU service error and attack error helped to seal the Norse’s fate.
A service error by Kim Nemcek gave the Moccasins a 13-12 lead, and Florida Southern senior Danielle Durham added a kill to put her team ahead 14-12.
An attack error by Wesaw ended the match at 15-12, with Florida Southern over NKU.
Wesaw, a transfer from Findlay, led the Norse with 17 kills, and returning All-American, Kristina Eisenmenger, added 16 kills with a .485 hitting percentage.
In the second match, No. 7 ranked Tampa completed a sweep of the Norse, defeating them in all three matches by scores of 25-21, 25-15, and 25-14.
The first set of the match was back-and-forth throughout and was tied at 19-all late in the set until a 4-0 run by Tampa, composed of kills by Melissa Vanderhall and Danielle MacDonald as well as two Norse attacking errors, gave the Spartans a 23-19 lead.
Nemcek added a kill to reduce Tampa’s lead to 23-20, and a ball handling error by Tampa’s Gabriela Saade cut the Spartans lead to only two.
A service error by Nemcek resulted in a 24-21 Tampa lead, and Spartan Sam Macks served an ace to post a 25-21 final score at the end of the set.
Tampa had little trouble recording victories over NKU in the second and third sets of the match, posting .519 and .433 hitting percentages, respectively.
The Spartans served 11 aces, led by Camila Saade, with 5 aces, and held NKU to only a .214 hitting percentage for the match.
Eisenmenger led the Norse with 12 kills, increasing her career kills count to 1,319, and Wesaw added 11 kills for NKU. Kim Nemcek added 4 kills, Annie Lucas and Sarah Drennen both had 2 kills and Natalie Forbes added 1 kill.
Although the volleyball team was unable to record upset victories in the Aug. 30 matches, the tournament experience served as a positive step for the Norse squad, Eisenmenger said.
“As the tournament continued our team started coming together,” she said. “Our serve receive was strong, our hitting was decent, and overall I think that we’re moving in the right direction. I really think that we will have a successful season.”
Click Here for stats on the NKU/Florida Southern game.
Click Here for stats on the NKU/Tampa game.