GALLERY: Volleyball continues torrid play by defeating Wright State

Matt Sexton, Sports Editor

The NKU volleyball team is on a roll.

The Norse won its third straight match, and fifth in its last six, with a straight-sets victory over Wright State Tuesday evening at Regents Hall, 25-17, 25-20, 25-18.

“I thought we sided out really well,” NKU Head Coach Liz Hart said. “We held them down to a 0.073 hitting percent, which comes back to our serving. I thought we did a nice job serving and getting them out of system.”

Solid hitting and serving, combined with a strong defense, left the outcome never in doubt.

NKU (11-12, 6-5 in Horizon League) started strong in the opening set. The Norse hit at a 0.256 percent and held Wright State to a 0.059 percent. An 11-2 run helped give the Norse the opening set 25-17.

The second set was a little closer, but the Norse never trailed after leveling the set at 6. A kill by Haley Libs would end the second set, 25-20.

The Raiders (12-14, 1-10) played better coming out of the break. They jumped out to an 8-6 lead, forcing an NKU timeout. The Norse came out of the timeout with five straight, and would never trail again.

Back-to-back kills by Libs would finish it off. NKU took the set and the match.

Libs had a monster game. She had 18 kills and hit at a 0.581 percentage. She also had seven digs. Wright State struggled to return her serves, causing many overpasses and passing errors.

“I think Haley had a great night all-around,” Hart said. “Haley came ready to play. Not only was her serving strong, she terminated almost every ball she touched. She was feeling good. I think Haley located her serves very well.”

Also for the Norse, Kelly Turner had 11 kills. Keyaira Lankheit added six kills. Mel Stewart had 20 digs while Taylor Snyder had 31 assists and seven digs.

“We had 9 1/2 blocks, so we did a nice job finding our hitters,” Hart said. “If it went through our block, Mel was there or someone else in the back row to pick it up. We did a great job on the defensive end and we sided out quickly.”

After winning just one of its first five Horizon League games, the Norse have won five of its last six.

“We had a lot of kids sick at the beginning of the year,” Hart said. “Getting healthy has allowed us to compete in practice. People are improving every single day.”

The Norse are heading down the stretch of the regular season, looking for a top-six finish to assure themselves a spot in the Horizon League tournament. NKU is now fourth, and two games clear of seventh-place Milwaukee.

Hart knows her team will need to continue its stellar play heading the final weeks of the regular season.

“We’re seeing everyone for the second time,” Hart said. “I think when you go into a new conference and you’re playing new teams, you don’t always know what you’re up against. Now, they’ve played everyone. They’ve beat the top two teams (Cleveland State and Oakland). We’re going to continue to gain confidence.”