THE TURNING POINT: Ashland's defense kept Lake Erie to a hitting percentage of .072 in the final two sets after yielding a .179 percentage in set No. 1.
STAT OF THE DAY: The Eagles are 7-0 at Kates Gymnasium in 2016, and have won 19 of their last 22 home matches.
It's been a fun ride for Ashland University's volleyball team the last few weeks.
That ride continued on Friday (Nov. 4) night at Kates Gymnasium, as the Eagles extended their winning streak to eight matches thanks to a 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-21) victory over Lake Erie. Ashland is 18-8 overall and 9-5 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and is in a tie for second place in the GLIAC South Division with Wayne State.
"We are doing a lot of really good things," said Ashland head coach Cass Dixon. "The biggest thing is working on defense, and keeping balls in play and working to get into system before other teams do. When we're in system, it's tough to beat us."
The Storm is 17-14, 8-6.
Friday's victory is the Eagles' second 3-0 decision during the winning streak, and Ashland is 5-2 in three-set matches in 2016.
As was the case in Tuesday's (Nov. 1) win at home against Tiffin, the Eagles' defense tightened up after the first set, keeping the Storm to a hitting percentage of .072 combined in sets No. 2 and 3.
Senior right-side hitter Alli Cudworth had a team-high 16 kills to go with a .324 hitting percentage and nine digs in the victory, and needs 71 digs to become the program's third 1,000 kills-1,000 digs player.
Freshman outside hitter Shelby Woycik added 13 kills and a .417 percentage, while sophomore setter Kayla Pfeiffer posted 40 assists. Junior libero Melanie Aguayo (16 digs) and senior outside hitter Casey Clark (12) led the defensive effort.
"Mel was digging balls like crazy tonight," Dixon said. "She did a really, really good job on defense, but everybody did. Everybody's doing their job."
Ashland's winning streak is its longest since an 11-match streak from Oct. 26-Nov. 23, 2013.
The Eagles began the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional rankings at No. 9, and are making a strong case to move up with each successive win.
"We're in a good place," said Dixon. "We've got to keep working, and we've just got to keep going back to basics, the fundamentals, and taking care of what we can take care of, and let it all play out."
UP NEXT: Saturday (Nov. 5) at 6 p.m. at home against Ohio Dominican.