THE TURNING POINT: As Ashland sought to tie the match at one set each, taking a 3-0 lead in the second set, Findlay scored nine straight points en route to the win to start conference play.
STAT OF THE DAY: The Eagles had a .143 hitting percentage against the Oilers. AU is 5-1 when sporting a percentage higher than .150 in 2016, and 1-4 with a percentage of .150 or lower.
The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference volleyball schedule makers know what they are doing.
Friday (Sept. 16) night's match between Ashland and Findlay at Croy Gymnasium marked the fifth consecutive season the Eagles and Oilers have begun GLIAC play against each other. Not only are they longtime in-state rivals, but they have won the last four GLIAC South Division titles – Eagles in 2012-13, Oilers in 2014-15.
In the 2016 GLIAC lid-lifter on Friday, Findlay defeated Ashland, 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 29-27). The Oilers, who received votes in the most recent American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division II poll, are 5-3 overall and 1-0 in the GLIAC, while the Eagles are 6-4, 0-1.
Set No. 1 had Ashland leading 4-3 early, but Findlay took a 6-5 lead and kept pulling away. In the second set, the Eagles had a 3-0 lead prior to the Oilers scoring nine consecutive points en route to moving a set away from the victory.
Then, in the third and final set, it was Findlay which jumped out to a 7-2 lead, but Ashland eventually worked the score to a 14-13 advantage. The Eagles served twice for set point at 24-23 and 27-26, only to have the Oilers rally both times.
Senior outside hitter Casey Clark had a team-high 10 kills for Ashland, her seventh double-digit match of 2016. Senior outside hitter Alli Cudworth finished with seven kills and a team-high 15 digs, two shy of her season high.
UP NEXT: Ashland ends its stretch of 10 of the first 11 matches on the road to begin 2016 on Saturday (Sept. 17) at 2 p.m. at Wayne State.