The Ashland University volleyball team improved to 6-0 with a pair of impressive wins over Missouri-St. Louis and Hillsdale – both teams receiving votes in the AVCA national coaches' poll – at the Findlay Classic on Friday (Aug. 31).
The Eagles will play two more matches at the event, against Ohio Valley at 2:30 p.m. and No. 24 Findlay at 7 p.m. on Saturday (Sept. 1).
Ashland def. Missouri-St. Louis, 25-21, 25-20, 20-25, 25-17
Ashland was very efficient against the Tritons (3-2), hitting .352 as a team. All six AU attackers hit at least .270 in the match.
The Eagles used a 5-0 run to take command of the opening set with freshman Erin Krupar on the serve. Junior Michaela Ping had two kills and a block to key that stretch which gave Ashland a 15-10 lead. Ashland hit .433 in the first set.
After dropping the third frame, the Eagles dominated Set 4 by hitting .395 as a team and limiting the Tritons to a .154 mark.
Five Ashland players recorded double figure kill totals, led by Woycik's 17 kills (.351). Krupar tallied 14 kills and had 10 digs for a double-double. Senior Reanne Neal had 13 kills (.524) and had a team-high four blocks. Ping had 10 kills and Cudworth put down nine. Senior Kaitlin Bean had a match-high 19 digs.
Selena Nolte finished with 17 kills (.359) as the Tritons hit .271 as a team.
Ashland def. Hillsdale, 14-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-23
The Eagles lost Set 1 to the Chargers (3-3), but bounced back to take the final three in a tight affair against the 2018 NCAA Tournament participants.
Both teams hit over .400 in the second set as the Eagles broke a 17-17 tie with a kill by Cudworth, followed by three straight kills by Ping.
In the third set, the Eagles saw their 19-13 advantage slip away as the Chargers tied it at 22-22, but a Hillsdale error and kills by Cudworth and Woycik gave Ashland a 2-1 lead.
In Set 4, the Eagles trailed by a 20-18 margin, but got to set point and Woycik and Neal combined on a block to put it away.
Ping led the way for the Eagles with 13 kills (.458) while Krupar (12 kills) and Woycik (11 kills) also registered double digits. Neal had seven kills and seven blocks.
Bean led the way with 18 digs on the back row.
Paige VanderWall led the Chargers with 20 kills and hit .562.