JAGS CLOSE OPENING WEEKEND WITH LOSSES TO BYU AND WEST VIRGINIA
August 31, 2014HOOSIER SPORTS 365
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – On the heels of an impressive three-set win over Toledo to open the 2014 season Friday evening, the IUPUI volleyball team faced much stiffer competition on the final day of the 2014 Blue and Gold Player's Challenge in No. 9 BYU and West Virginia and despite playing both teams close, the Jags dropped a pair of three-set matches to the Cougars and the Mountaineers.
The height of BYU and West Virginia posed problems for the IUPUI offensive attack in both matches as the Jags were outblocked nine to six in both matches. In the season opener, IUPUI hit over .300 against Toledo but it could not eclipse a .150 clip in either match on Saturday.
"It seemed like we were always one or two points down and we just needed that defensive stop to push us over the hump," head coach Steve Payne said. "We just couldn't get those stops when we needed to, but I was pleased with the way we hung around. We just need to do better at finishing off those sets."
Kelly Wachtel led the Jags in kills in both contests collecting nine kills at a .300 clip against the nationally-ranked Cougars before reaching 11 kills against West Virginia. For her efforts during the weekend, she was an All-Tournament Team selection.
In the first match of the day against BYU, IUPUI held its own early but in each set the Cougars put together spurts that gave them sizeable cushions that were too much to overcome.
BYU emerged with a 25-19, 25-17, 25-18 three-set victory over the Jags as it had three players reach double-figures in kills led by Jennifer Hamson's 15.
In the evening match against West Virginia, it was more of the same for IUPUI as they fought within a few points late in each of the sets only to fall 25-21 in all three sets.
Despite the pair of losses, the Jags held their own against quality competition during the season-opening tournament showing the potential of this year's squad.
"I was happy with the way we started this whole weekend. We kept pace with almost all the teams in the blocking game and on the other side they didn't block us a lot," Payne added. "I thought we showed the ability to get some big kills at some big moments and those will be things we need going forward to close out some matches."
Kori Waelbroeck, Abby Horn and Ashley Hacker all made their first career appearances in competitive action on the day with Horn seeing action against BYU, Waelbroeck totaling four kills on the day and Hacker accumulating 15 assists.
IUPUI returns to action on Wednesday, Sept. 3, when it heads north to Valparaiso, Ind., to take on Valparaiso in a mid-week, non-conference match. Action is set to begin at 8 p.m. ET.