By Allison Bertozzi, Contributing Writer
Despite falling 25-16 to Urbana in the first set Friday night, the WLU volleyball girls came back to sweep the next three sets and ultimately win the MEC match against the Blue Knights.
A supportive crowd cheered the Hilltoppers to 25-21, 25-20 and 25-18 point wins in sets two, three and four against Urbana. “The games were all really close right until the very end,” recalled senior Public Relations major Kira Brown, “which made it all the more exciting to get to watch.”
Senior middle hitter Michaela Hawkins led the offensive assault, achieving a .294 kill percentage (7 kills, 14 total attempts), followed by freshman right side Hannah Guidish with a .273 percentage (5 kills, 11 attempts). Freshman outside hitter Raimey Benson rounded out the top three with a .250 kill percentage (12 kills, 40 attempts).
Also helping out immensely with the offense were the setters. Freshman right side and setter Amanda Leonard led the way with 26 assists, junior setter and defensive specialist Miranda Garmenn followed with 12 and senior defensive specialist Courtney Pyeritz chipped in with 2.
The Hilltoppers proved to be strong defensively as well. Alexis Boyd and Pyeritz each notched 12 digs, and Amanda Leonard followed close behind with 11.
A strong presence at the net is a sure way to intimidate the opponent’s hitters. The WLU girls held their own at the net, with Hawkins contributing 8 blocks, Sydney Scherer 6 and Guidish 5.
It is important to note that Pyeritz broke WLU’s record for career digs. After the first tournament of the 2015 season, Pyeritz had racked up 1,546 digs in her career, putting her 2 digs ahead of the past record holder Sherri Shade who had 1,544 (2000 graduate of WLU). All of her teammates remarked that they “couldn’t be happier for Courtney.”
If you have to miss a match, you can watch the volleys from start to finish by checking out hilltoppersports.com or following this link: https://hilltoppersports.com/schedule.aspx?path=wvball
The WLU Hilltoppers will take on rival Wheeling Jesuit University at 8 PM on Thursday, October 1st in Wheeling. Get there early—this matchup always packs the gym.