It was evident on Friday (Oct. 27) night that if Ashland University's volleyball team's 23-match home winning streak was going to end, the Eagles weren't going to go down without a fight.
On Senior Night at Kates Gymnasium, Ashland rallied from a 2-1 sets deficit, but ultimately lost to Wayne State, 25-22, 21-25, 25-22, 19-25, 20-18. The Eagles (13-10 overall, 6-6 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) lost their first home match since Oct. 9, 2015.
"I really can't be upset with the effort we had out on the floor," said Ashland head coach Cass Dixon. "We did a lot of really good things and played a lot of really good volleyball. It just didn't fall our way.
"I think if you look at what we did from start to finish today, versus four weeks ago, it's a completely different story. I'll take losing like this than losing without even putting up a fight."
Wayne State improves to 14-9, 9-3, to lead the GLIAC South Division.
There were plenty of standout performances for Ashland in defeat. Junior middle blocker Reanne Neal finished one block assist shy of the program single-match record, posting nine to go with 11 kills. Sophomore outside hitter Shelby Woycik collected 23 kills, 15 digs and four block assists for her sixth consecutive double-double.
Freshman setter Kali Apelt came through with a career-high 53 assists, career-high-tying 13 digs and three block assists, while sophomore outside hitter Sophi Cudworth added 14 kills and three block assists.
Freshman libero McKinley Smith led five Eagles with double-digit digs with a career-best 16.
"We've been working really hard in practice, and they did a really great job tonight," Dixon said.
Ashland finished with 24 block assists as a team, tying a season high.
For Wayne State, Hailey Richardson had 23 kills and 20 digs, while Natalie Breault posted 62 assists.
Prior to the match, Ashland's three seniors - Aguayo, defensive specialist Jacqueline Tanguay and setter Kayla Pfeiffer - were honored. On Saturday (Oct. 28) at 2 p.m. vs. Grand Valley State (13-10, 8-4), it will be the parents' turn, as it will be Parents Day at "The Kates."