The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

Norse struggle at Gator Invitational

September 18, 2017


Chloe Smith/NKU Athletics

Haley Libs records a kill during the NKU Invitational in Regents Hall.

The women’s volleyball team dropped matches to Lipscomb, Florida and Florida A&M at the Gator Invitational in Gainesville, Florida over the weekend.

After opening the season 4-0, the Norse have lost five straight games and currently rank 6th in the Horizon League standings.

NKU will return to action next weekend as they kick-off conference play at home against the Wright State Raiders, Saturday, Sept. 23, in Regents Hall at 4 p.m.

Game 1: NKU 0 Lipscomb 3

The Norse (4-3) lost to the Bisons (5-5) in their first match of the day in the Gator Invitational at the O’Connell Center in straight sets by scores of 17-25, 18-25, 20-25.

After being knotted at 15 apiece in the first set, the Bisons went on a 7-0 run to end the set. Lipscomb benefitted from three kills from returning All-American Carlyle Nusbaum and two service aces from outside hitter Lauren Anderson. Lipscomb hit .400 while the Norse hit .192 in the frame.

NKU was led by Haley Libs who accumulated three swings while Kelly Turner and Bailey Western added a pair of kills.

Lipscomb opened the second set with an 18-9 lead. The Norse started to chip away at the Bisons lead and cut it down to six. However, the comeback would be derailed by 10 hitting errors from NKU. Lipscomb’s right side hitter Carli Anderson delivered the final kill to give the Bisons a two-set lead. The Norse were led by six kills from Laura Crawford and six digs from Ashton Terrill in the set.

The Norse jumped to a 4-1 lead early on in the third set. However, three late errors from NKU, a pair of aces and a kill from Lipscomb All-American outside hitter Nusbaum, put the nail in the coffin for the Norse. NKU was led by Crawford’s seven kills on 13 swings.

Lipscomb outhit the Norse .305 to .135 for the match.

Crawford led the Norse with 14 kills and seven digs in the match, while  Olsen finished with 31 assists and Terrill led the defensive with 11 digs respectively.

Game 2: NKU 0 Florida 3

The Norse (4-4) lost to the Gators (6-0), who are currently third in the national rankings, in their second match of the day (22-25, 15-25, 15-25) in the Gator Invitational.

The Norse battled through a tough first set and held a 6-4 lead early on. The Gators battled back and went on a 7-1 run to put them ahead 13-8. Thanks to a few Gator attack errors, the Norse closed the gap with two points at 22-24. Florida finished off the match with a kill from outside hitter, Mia Sokolowski.  Kelly Turner led the Norse with three kills while Libs and Western added two kills of their own.

The Gators started hot in the second, racing out to a 6-2 lead and maintained their lead throughout the game and won 25-15, going 2-0 into intermission. Western and Libs led the Norse with three kills apiece.

Florida continued its dominance early on as NKU fell behind 8-2 in the third set. Thanks to a few aces from freshman libero, Ashton Terrill, the Norse pulled to within one. However, the Gators turned to their middle blockers Rachael Kramer and Taelor Kellum to go on a 12-2 run to finish off the Norse.

The Gators were led by sophomore middle blocker Rachael Kramer who finished with a .765 hitting percentage. While outside hitter Carli Snyder led the Gators in kills (12) and three-time All-American Rhamat Alhassan recorded eight blocks.

Florida outhit the Norse .296 to .047 and held the edge on digs 55-44.

Drew Hendricks led the Norse with six kills, while Libs and Western finished with 5 and 4 respectively. Mckenzie Eskridge led the defense with 14 digs.

Game 3: NKU 1 Florida A&M 4

The Norse (4-5) fell to the Rattlers of Florida A&M (2-8) in four sets, 23-25, 27-25, 17-25, 23-25.

The Norse fell behind in the first set 17-9 until Libs led the charge with four kills to help knot the score at 18. NKU would take control with a 23-22 lead later in the set. However, a service error and two attack errors did the Norse in. Libs led NKU with six kills and eight digs, while Crawford added three kills and six digs.

NKU took an early 4-1 lead in the second set. However, the Rattlers would battle their way back and knot the set at 15. The back and forth continued when Libs tied the contest at 22 after three straight kills. The Norse were able to hold and defeat the Rattlers 27-25 after a service ace by middle hitter, Georgia Childers. Libs continued to lead the Norse with eight kills and seven digs. Hendricks added four kills to the offense while Terrill led the defense with eight digs.

Despite 33 digs by NKU, the Rattlers maintained their lead in the third set and never let up. The Norse fell 25-17. Libs once again led the Norse with five kills and Terrill led with 11 digs. Crawford and Olsen contributed to the digs with eight and seven respectively.

Florida A&M came out strong in the fourth set, taking an early 12-4 lead. But the Norse slowly chipped away at the lead to get themselves back, 20-19. The Rattlers would score five out of the next nine points to hold off the Norse, 25-23. Freshman outside hitter Maddy Weber, made her Norse debut and recorded three kills on seven swings.

Despite the setback, the Norse ended the afternoon with career highs from multiple players.

Libs recorded her second 20-20 of her career with 24 kills and 20 digs. Terrill had a personal best with 26 digs, while Olsen hit the 20 dig mark for the first time in her career.

Crawford also had a career-high with 19 digs and senior libero McKenzie Eskridge finished with a season-high of 18 digs. Hendricks rounded out the black and gold career bests with 12 terminations.

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