ASHLAND, Ohio – Senior Anesia Benton (Lima, Ohio/Senior) recorded a season-high .727 hitting percentage, but No. 11 Ferris State sent the Eagles to a straight-set defeat (26-24, 25-17, 27-25) on Saturday (Oct. 8) afternoon at Kates Gymnasium.
It is just the second time this season the Eagles have lost two straight matches and they have not lost three straight all year.
The Eagles (9-5, 7-3 GLIAC) could not keep up with the Bulldogs' attack, especially in the first two sets. For the match, FSU hit .245.
Benton had 16 kills on 22 attacks with no errors in the match. She had five kills in the first set, six in the second and five in the third to lead the Eagles offensively.
"I was extremely proud of her today," said AU head coach Cass Dixon. "We talked this morning about what she needed to do and she went out and stuck to it. She was very smart and efficient as an attacker today."
AU never led in the first set. A kill by sophomore Susie Jonas (Harrison, Ohio) tied the game at 10-10, but the Bulldogs won the next five points to take a 15-10 lead. The Eagles faced set point at 24-20, but rallied for four straight points, including kills by Benton and sophomore Kate Eckels (Loveland, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame) and an ace by sophomore Marci Zegarac (Lansing, Ill./South). With the score tied, FSU got kills from Ashley Huntey and Courtney Rehm to end the set.
The Bulldogs (15-1, 11-1 GLIAC) led almost wire-to-wire in the second set, opening up a 17-10 lead and carrying it to a 27-25 win.
The third set saw nine lead changes and 14 ties. The Eagles led 23-21 after a kill by Benton, but the Bulldogs scored the next three points for a 24-23 lead and match point. AU staved that off by forcing an attack error by Anne Sutton. Another attack error by FSU gave AU a set point, but the Bulldogs registered two kills and block to deflate the Eagles' chances.
Outside of Benton, the Eagles got seven kills from Jonas and five from junior Crystal Elliott (Canal Winchester, Ohio), who also had 27 assists and five digs. Senior Arian Martin (Independence, Ohio) led the Eagles on the back row with 13 digs. Sophomore Megan Rohlfs (Loveland, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame) had nine digs.
Huntey led the Bulldogs with 14 kills and a .379 hitting percentage. Sutton added 11 kills and Samantha Fordyce had 41 assists. Brandie Merren finished with a match-high 17 digs.
The Eagles will look to salvage a piece of the weekend on Sunday (Oct. 9) when Saginaw Valley State comes to Kates Gymnasium for a 2 p.m. first serve. It will be Family Day at Kates Gymnasium. A family of four can attend the game for $10. Fans are also encouraged to wear pink for the "Think Pink" campaign to support breast cancer awareness. Donations for the Ashland County Cancer Society will be accepted.