Sept. 14, 2013
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall volleyball defeated Kent State 3-2 (25-20, 18-25, 25-17, 22-25, 15-7) to win the Marshall Thunder Invitational on Saturday night in the Cam Henderson Center.
The Thundering Herd swept the two-day tournament by knocking off Southern Illinois (3-0), Eastern Kentucky (3-1) and Kent State (3-2). The Marshall squad improved to 5-7 on the season, while SIU dropped to 4-8, EKU to 5-5 and KSU to 3-6.
The Herd’s senior libero Dorothy Rahal (Venice, Fla.) was named Marshall Thunder Invitational MVP after tallying 54 digs averaging 4.50 digs per set. Senior middle blocker Sacha Byous-McConnell (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) and junior setter Sammie Bane (Brownstown, Ind.) earned all-tournament honors for their efforts as well. Byous-McConnell recorded 28 kills with a .345 hitting percentage and seven block assists, while Bane collected 99 assists and 21 digs.
Marshall’s weekend sweep came with the return of senior outside hitter Laura Der (Clarksville, Ind.), who tallied a team-best 34 kills, 35 digs and five total blocks, four assisted and one solo.
In the championship match, it was clear neither team wanted to leave with a loss. The Golden Flashes came out swinging in the first set and took a 3-0 lead and the Herd battled back to tie things at 8. After being tied at 11 apiece the Herd took the momentum and rallied five-straight points and never relinquished the lead, taking the set 25-20.
In frame two, Kent State took a 2-0 lead before the Herd stormed back by taking the next six points. The Golden Flashes rallied back and tied the set at 8. The teams went back-and-forth over the next few points to tie the set at 17 apiece. Kent State then found its groove and took 8 of the next 9 points to win the set 25-18.
In the third set the teams battled hard to tie the set at 13 before the Herd went on a huge 12-4 run to take the set 25-17. Kent State wouldn’t go down without a fight and came out swinging in the fourth set. The Golden Flashes gave up the first two points before rallying back to take a 3-2 lead over the Herd. Kent State never looked back and lead the rest of the way for a 25-22 set victory.
The Herd rallied behind the 419 screaming fans in the Henderson Center to open a big 8-2 margin over the Golden Flashes in the fifth set. Kent State called a timeout down 12-5 to stop the bleeding but the Herd refused to give the match away, taking the final set 15-7.
Marshall now turns its attention to next weekend when it travels to Ann Arbor, Mich., to play in the Michigan Invitational. The Herd will face Michigan on Friday, Sept. 20 at 11:30 a.m. before taking on Ohio and Maryland on Saturday.