Norse split Horizon League weekend matches



Laura Crawford spikes a ball against Cleveland State. The Norse would lose to CSU 3-2.

It was a historic day for the Northern Kentucky University volleyball program, as they earned the program’s 1,000th victory in a 3-1 effort over Youngstown State Friday evening.

“We’re thrilled to have gotten the program’s 1,000th win,” head coach Liz Hart said. “This is an outstanding accomplishment by all of the current and former players and coaches.”

Youngstown State (7-10 overall, 0-3 Horizon) claimed the first set but NKU (6-6 overall, 2-1 Horizon) rallied for a 3-1 victory (22-25,25-16,25-23,25-22) at the Beeghly Center.

Haley Libs led the Norse with 21 kills (14th career) and 15 digs. The junior outside hitter also had the highest attack percentage on the team at .395.

The Penguins started the night hot with a 6-0 run in the first set to put them ahead of the Norse, 22-14. The Norse would close the gap 24-22 before a Margaux Thompson kill ended the set, 25-22.

After going on a 7-1 run in the second set, the Norse never looked back and seized control, 25-16.

The Norse built an early 10-6 lead in the third set. However, the Penguins would battle back and come within one seven different times until a kill by Thompson knotted the score at 18. The Penguins would take a 23-22 lead until the Norse rallied back with two kills from senior Drew Hendricks and a ball handling error to give the Norse a 2-1 lead in the match.

The Norse held a 23-18 lead in the fourth set until the Penguins scored four straight points to come within one. The Norse would prove to be too much for the Penguins though, as they topped off the victory behind back to back kills from Laura Crawford and Kaelin Gentile.

The Norse posted an attack percentage of .253, with 61 kills and 57 assists. The Penguins were held to a .221 attack percentage, with 53 kills and 52 assists.

Thompson led the Penguins with 14 kills and 15 digs. Marketa Plesingrova had 11 kills, while Lauren Blanco finished with 24 digs, eight more than any other player.

Shelby Olsen finished with her second straight double-double with 50 assists and 15 digs. Hendricks had a career night with 13 kills in the game with Gentile following with 11.

“Haley (Libs) and Kaelin (Gentile) played outstanding volleyball tonight.” said Hart. “They did a great job terminating the ball.”

Game 2: NKU 1 Oakland 3

The Norse (6-7 overall, 2-2 Horizon) lost a 3-1 decision to the Oakland Golden Grizzlies (7-9 Overall, 2-2 Horizon) by scores of 25-22, 23-25, 25-20, 25-20, Saturday evening at the O’rena.

Laura Crawford led the Norse offensively with 18 kills and an attack percentage of .235. Hendricks matched a career high that was set the previous night with 13 kills. While Olsen rounded out the black and gold with 41 assists and 10 digs.

Oakland jumped out to a 6-1 lead to start the first set. NKU managed to pull within two points, 23-21, but fell in the first set, 25-22. Crawford led the team with seven kills, while Hendricks chipped in with three kills.

With the score knotted at 22 in the second set, the Norse took advantage of two key errors by the Golden Grizzlies and took the second set by a score of 25-23. Hendricks led all attackers with five kills. Crawford and Kailin Gentile recorded four and three kills, respectively. Ashton Terrill scooped up seven digs while Haley Libs had five.

The Norse took an early 7-1 lead to start the third set. But the Golden Grizzlies went on a 5-1 run to take an 18-15 lead and held off the Norse to win the set, 25-20. Hendricks paced the Norse with three kills.

The fourth set was knotted at 18, before the Golden Grizzlies went on a 7-2 run to cap off the match, 25-20. Libs and Olsen led the defense with six and four digs. Crawford posted five kills while Kelly Turner chipped in with three.

The Norse were held to an attack percentage of .179, with 50 kills and 45 assists. Oakland posted a .316 attack percentage, with 67 kills and 63 assists.

Darien Bandel led the Golden Grizzlies by matching a career-high 27 kills plus 14 digs and a hitting percentage of .407 while Jordan Lentz also matched a career high with 53 assists plus 10 digs. Darrin Rice led the Golden Grizzlies defensively with 21 digs.

The Norse return home next weekend when they host the University of Illinois-Chicago on Friday, Oct 6th at 6p.m. from Regents Hall.