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WVU Dominates Rutgers

By Abby Norman for
September 23, 2011 09:46 PM
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – Trailing 18-16 in the second set, the West Virginia University volleyball team used a balanced attack and six service aces to overcome the deficit as the team went on to win the set and its first BIG EAST match against Rutgers 3-0 (25-17, 25-23, 25-19), Friday at the WVU Coliseum.

The Mountaineers (3-9, 1-0) started the second set with a 7-1 lead before the Scarlet Knights (6-11, 0-1) used WVU errors and kills from Hannah Curtis and Sofi Cucuz to get back into the match. After a timeout at 18-16, the Mountaineers used kills from freshman outside hitter Halle Kearney, freshman middle blocker Evyn McCoy and senior outside hitter Michelle Kopecky to reclaim the lead and win the set 25-23.

“I think it is great to kick off conference with a win,” coach Jill Kramer says. “It was good that we came in and took care of business in three sets because we put ourselves in a situation where they took the lead in the second and we worked our way out of it and had confidence to do that. Halle (Kearney) came out and led us in kills and I thought Michelle (Kopecky) had a really great match and she hit a .400 clip. There are still some things we can do a lot better."

WVU took charge of set one from the first point with a kill from senior outside hitter Kylie Armbruster to start the match. Armbruster, Kearney, Kopecky and senior middle blocker Abby Monson kept the lead going with six straight kills to take an 8-2 lead. The Mountaineers never let Rutgers get any closer as it took the first set 25-17.

With the momentum on its side, WVU used a kill and service ace from Kopecky to start the third set 2-0. The Mountaineers used Rutgers hitting errors and kills from Kearney and Kopecky to jump to a quick 9-3 lead before a time out by the Scarlet Knights. WVU stretched the lead with an 11-5 run before two straight kills from Rutgers led to a WVU timeout. Coming out of the timeout strong, the Mountaineers never let the Scarlet Knights get any closer as it won the third set 25-19.

“There is a lot of home contests this weekend at West Virginia and I like that we kicked it off for everybody with a conference win and the crowd was great," Kramer says. "We had a lot of support from all the tailgaters and atmosphere was really great and we are looking to carry that over into Sunday.”

Kearney led the team with 11 kills and a .250 hitting percentage. Kopecky chipped in 10 kills, a .400 hitting percentage, five service aces and eight digs. The Mountaineers had a season-high 10 service aces in the match.

The Mountaineers return to action, Sunday, Sept. 25, at the WVU Coliseum where it will take on BIG EAST foe Seton Hall at 2 p.m.

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