MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – With a season-high 13 service aces, the West Virginia University volleyball team defeated Wright State 3-0 (25-14, 25-18, 25-22) in the final match of the West Virginia Golden Horseshoe Challenge, Saturday at the WVU Coliseum.
The Mountaineers (6-5, 0-1 Big 12) took second at the tournament while the Raiders fell to 1-11 on the season and took fourth.
“We progressively improved throughout the tournament,” coach Jill Kramer says. “We had a lot of changes in our lineup throughout the weekend and Nikki (Attea) did a great job staying in there for six rotations. Teams went after her and she handled serve receive well and passed really good numbers this weekend.
“Elzbieta (Klein) came in and did a good job. The team got used to the changes in the lineup, worked through them and really started to work together as a team.”
WVU began the match with a 6-2 lead off of kills from Attea and freshman outside hitter Hannah Sackett
. A strong serving run from Klein, which included two service aces, extended the Mountaineers’ lead. Wright State could not find an offensive rhythm as Attea put down her fifth kill to take the first set 25-14.
Two service aces from freshman setter Brittany Sample
started WVU off on the right foot in set two. A timeout at 20-11 gave the Raiders momentum, but two kills from Sackett ended the set 25-18 and gave the Mountaineers a 2-0 lead in the match.
The third set was tightly contested until 18-18 when two kills from Sackett and a kill from Klein gave WVU its first solid lead in the set. Errors by the Raiders and two blocks from the Mountaineers finished off the final set and gave WVU the victory.
“We talked about being mentally tough and all that means is coming out and playing our pace,” Kramer says. “We have not come in and set the tone for a match this season. We have been playing the type of game that the other team played. In this match, we came in, we set the tone and did a good job of keeping our play at the same level throughout.”
Attea, an all-tournament selection, and Klein each posted 10 kills for a .381 and .364 hitting percentage, respectively.
Freshman libero Anna Panagiotakopoulos
was also selected for the all-tournament team and finished the challenge with 51 digs and five service aces.
WVU will have a short turnaround as they travel to Robert Morris on Tuesday, Sept. 11 to take on the Colonials at 7 p.m. at Charles L. Sewell Center in Moon Township, Pa.
“Tomorrow, our girls are going to be getting a whole lot of treatment because they played four matches of volleyball this weekend,” Kramer says. “Robert Morris did the same thing so we are going to be in similar situations. On Monday, we will get back into the gym and really work on our serve and pass. We had a better serving performance this weekend and that is something that we had really been focused on. We have to stick with those fundamentals and at the same time, we have to make sure we have some fresh legs for the match on Tuesday.”