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Marshall Takes Match One in Thunder Invite

Dorothy Rahal on the serve.

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Sept. 13, 2013

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Marshall volleyball team earned its first home victory against Southern Illinois on Friday evening at the Cam Henderson Center in game one of the Marshall Thunder Invitational.

The Herd shut down the Salukis in three sets (25-18, 25-17, 25-23) which dropped Southern Illinois to 3-6 on the season, and Marshall improved to 3-7.

"I'm really proud on the way we performed," coach Mitch Jacobs said. "We're in another situation to error out of a set. But, I don't remember winning a set hitting negative. I think the biggest thing we did today was get a lot of good touches on their balls."

Leading the way for the Herd was senior libero Dorothy Rahal (Venice, Fla.), who tallied 17 digs and two service aces while on offensive senior outside hitter Laura Der (Clarksville, Ind.) posted seven kills and five digs in her first match back since James Madison (Aug. 31). Freshman middle blocker Ally Kiekover (Grand Rapids, Mich.) collected six kills with a .500 hitting percentage.

"It was a great individual performance tonight by Rahal, added Jacobs. "She read beautifully and made the plays that we needed. Of course, it was great to have (Laura) Der back on the court. I looked forward to getting her back into the matches."

Marshall and Southern Illinois traded points for the start of the first frame. A Salukis serving error, turned into a Rahal serving ace and a Der attack on an overpassed ball, giving the Herd an 8-5 lead. Marshall continued to threaten with a six-point run that pushed Southern Illinois to call two timeouts, 14-6. The Salukis battled back, forcing the Herd into a timeout after a three-point run that put them six points behind Marshall, 22-15.  Southern Illinois made attempts to take control, but fell short with the final blow coming from Lauren Legge (Pliny, W.Va.) to end the set, 25-18.

The Herd kept the momentum on its side by taking the first pair of points of the second frame. The Salukis gave Marshall some trouble, battling back and tying the set more than once, but the Herd found its groove, forcing Southern Illinois into a timeout with a 7-4 lead. The Herd kept a constant three-point lead, but a big kill from freshman outside hitter Cassie Weaver (Huntington, W.Va.), who started a three-point run that forced the Salukis into another timeout at 14-8. The teams traded points, and Marshall called its first timeout of the frame just three-points away from taking the set. The Herd refused to give up the lead, finally taking the set at the hands of Kiekover kill, 25-17.

A working equation of Sammie Bane's (Brownstown, Ind.) serving, plus good defense and good offense put Marshall on an early 8-0 lead. SIU battled and took some momentum from the Herd courtside, pushing Marshall into a timeout with Marshall still ahead, 11-8. The Salukis came within one point of tying the frame, but Marshall gave itself cushion after a two-point run pushed the Herd ahead 15-12 and forced SIU into a timeout. Back-to-back Salukis kills, along with a pair of Marshall attacking errors put SIU within one, 17-16, forcing coach Jacobs to take his second timeout of the frame. The set was tied at every point after 17, until Rahal served for matched point and a big block from Kiekover ended the match, 25-23.

Marshall will play two games on Saturday, re-matching Eastern Kentucky at noon (losing to them 3-1 on Sept. 2) and facing Kent State for the first time this season at 7:30 p.m.

Kent State defeated Eastern Kentucky 3-2 in second match of the Marshall Thunder Invitational.