THE TURNING POINT: Ashland and Ohio Dominican were tied at 11 in the second set before the Eagles ran off five straight points.
STAT OF THE DAY: In three matches in the week, the Eagles' defense kept its opposition to hitting percentages of .115, .090 and .064.
When Ashland University head volleyball coach Cass Dixon changed her lineup prior to the 2016 Mizuno Midwest Region Volleyball Crossover in Aurora, Ill., she had an idea that it would work.
Did she think it would work to the point where her Eagles would win nine consecutive matches?
"You're not really sure what's going to click and what's not going to click," said Dixon following Ashland's ninth win a row, a 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-14) decision over Ohio Dominican on Saturday (Nov. 5) night at Kates Gymnasium. "At the time that we made it, we thought it would be the best decision at that point and time. Each day that we play with this lineup, we continue to get better and better and better."
The Eagles are 19-8 overall and 10-5 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and are tied for second in the GLIAC South Division and tied for third in the league overall. The Panthers are 8-17, 3-12.
Ashland's defense was stellar in three home wins in the week, with none of its opponents hitting any better than .115 in any match.
"We're making really good moves on defense, making good reads," Dixon said. "You can see that there has been a sense of trust that have developed out on the court."
Freshman outside hitter Shelby Woycik led Ashland's offense with 11 kills, while freshman middle blocker Sophi Cudworth (.462) and sophomore middle blocker Reanne Neal (.417) each hit better than .400. Sophomore setter Kayla Pfeiffer had 35 assists, while the three principals in the lineup change – junior libero Melanie Aguayo (17), senior outside hitter Casey Clark (16) and senior right-side hitter Alli Cudworth (13) – all had double-digit digs.
The Eagles are 8-0 at Kates Gymnasium in 2016, and have won 20 of their last 23 home matches.
UP NEXT: The final regular-season road match of the 2016 season on Tuesday (Nov. 8) at 7 p.m. at No. 5-ranked Wheeling Jesuit (32-2). "And that's OK," said Dixon. "We've built up some momentum, so we'll see what happens when we step out on the court."