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Women’s Volleyball Drops Season-Opening Matches

Courtney Darling had double-digit assists and digs in both matches.
Courtney Darling had double-digit assists and digs in both matches.

ATLANTA, Ga. – The Illinois Tech women's volleyball team opened the 2017 season on Saturday afternoon at the Oglethrope University Tournament. The Scarlet Hawks fell to the host school in five sets to start the day before losing 3-1 to Piedmont College.

Scores of the Day

  • Oglethorpe 3, Tech 2 (25-11, 25-22, 24-26, 20-25, 12-15)
  • Piedmont 3, Tech 1 (25-21, 18-25, 20-25, 25-27)

How it Happened – Oglethorpe Match

  • After a back-and-forth start to the first set, the Scarlet Hawks went on an 11-2 run to build a 16-6 lead. The team never looked back en route to a dominant 25-11 set victory. The Scarlet Hawks outhit the hosts .270 to -.125 in the set.
  • The offenses normalized in the second set, but Oglethorpe was still unable to keep the Hawks down. Illinois Tech took a 13-5 lead to start things off. After OU worked the set back to a 20-20 tie, Tech scored five of the set's last seven points to go up 2-0.
  • Oglethorpe was able to break through in the third set, but the Scarlet Hawks once again jumped out ahead. With Tech up 22-16, Oglethorpe went on a 7-0 run to take a 23-22 lead, its first lead of the match since a 3-2 advantage in the first set. After Illinois Tech took the lead back with two straight, Oglethorpe scored three points in a row to win 26-24.
  • Set four featured an early Oglethorpe run, as a 4-0 rally put the hosts up 12-7. The Scarlet Hawks never came closer than three points for the rest of the set.
  • In the deciding set, the Scarlet Hawks led 8-4 before the Petrels took control with a 9-1 run. The Scarlet Hawks would rattle off three straight points to pull to within one at 13-12, but an attack error followed by an OU kill gave the hosts the come-from-behind win.

Scarlet Hawk Standouts – Oglethorpe Match

  • In her first collegiate match, Sara Hassell was outstanding. The outside hitter led all players with 15 kills while tallying 28 digs and three total blocks (one solo, two assisted).
  • Two additional freshman also had strong debuts. Leah van der Sanded recorded seven kills and a block assist, while Natalie Freund led the team with 18 assists and four service aces.
  • Alyssa Miner tallied eight kills and two block assists.
  • Courtney Curcio (a match-high 29 digs, two aces) and Reya Green (21 digs, one ace) were solid on defense.
  • Courtney Darling tallied 12 assists and 21 digs.

Stats to Know – Oglethorpe Match

  • Both teams recorded over 100 digs, with the Scarlet Hawks outdoing Oglethorpe 115-114.
  • Kills were nearly even, with OU holding the slight advantage (45-43).
  • Tech had 11 blocks (one solo, 10 assisted) compared to six for the hosts (two solo, four assisted).

How it Happened – Piedmont Match

  • The Scarlet Hawks took the first set against Piedmont as well, winning 25-21 behind an impressive .469 hitting percentage. Tech tallied 17 kills in the set, with eight of them coming courtesy of Taylor Burton.
  • The two teams traded leads in the second set until a 4-0 run put Piedmont up 12-9. Tech would come back to take a 17-16 lead on a van der Sanden kill, but Piedmont closed the set on a 10-1 run to even things up at 1-1.
  • In set three, no team led by more than three points until the very end of the set. Piedmont scored five of the last six points to put Tech up against defeat.
  • The Scarlet Hawks overcame a six-point deficit (22-16) to take a 25-24 lead on a Sinjin Acuna kill late in the set. However, Piedmont closed out the match with three straight tallies.

Scarlet Hawk Standouts – Piedmont Match

  • Burton tallied 13 kills and .308 hitting percentage.
  • Hassell followed up the Oglethorpe match with 11 more kills, three more aces, and 11 more digs against Piedmont.
  • The setting duo of Darling (21 assists, 11 digs) and Freund (13 assists, 11 digs) were once again impressive.
  • Curcio led the Scarlet Hawks with 19 digs.

Stats to Know – Piedmont Match

  • Despite the monstrous first set, the Scarlet Hawks were outhit by Piedmont in both kills (46-44) and hitting percentage (.168 to .113).
  • Tech was unable to record a block in the match.
  • The Scarlet Hawks had 83 digs compared to 75 for Piedmont.

Up Next

  • Tech will play one more match in Georgia, taking on Columbia College of South Carolina at 10:00 a.m. central time (11:00 a.m. eastern time).