@HerdVolleyball Improves Sweep Streak to Seven at Active Ankle Challenge
Marshall ties the longest Conference USA sweep streak since Tulsa in 2011
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Marshall volleyball kept its sweep streak alive on Friday at the 2016 Active Ankle Challenge by blanking the Jacksonville Dolphins (25-21, 25-18, 25-20) and Florida A&M Rattlers (27-25, 25-23, 25-20). The Herd’s seven consecutive sweeps ties the longest Conference USA streak since Tulsa in 2011.
Marshall improves to 11-3 overall, while the Dolphins fall to 3-7 and the Rattlers move to 2-10.
The Herd started the day with a 3-0 win over Jacksonville. Madison Hill led the team with 12 kills on 13 total attacks, good for a hitting percentage of .846. Jac’cara Walker added 11 kills in the match for Marshall. Marshall started the opening set by taking ten of the first 14 points. The teams split the next six points before the Herd took three straight points, forcing the Dolphins to call timeout. Jacksonville would cut the Herd lead to as little as three points, but Marshall took the opening set, 25-21.
Jacksonville started the second set by opening up a 7-5 lead. The teams exchanged points until the Herd scored six consecutive points to take a 16-11 lead. Ally Kiekover had three kills in the six-point span and six of her eight kills in the set, including her 1,000thcareer kill. Three kills from Walker and two kills from Hill helped Marshall close out the second set, 25-18.
The Herd had its highest hitting percentage in the third set, as it hit .447 in the set. Marshall used a balanced attack to jump out to a 7-4 lead. Jacksonville managed to score six of the next eight points to take a 10-9 lead. The teams split the next eight points before Marshall took the next five points to gain an 18-14 lead. Jacksonville would come as close as 23-19, but a kill from Madelyn Cole clinched the Herd’s sixth consecutive sweep.
In the second match, Marshall was paired up against the Rattlers. Cassie Weaver led the team with 11 kills, while Walker followed with 10 of her own. Leading the way in hitting was Kiekover with eight kills on 13 swings, good for a .462 hitting percentage. The Herd and Rattlers started the first set back-and-forth as neither team would gain a three point lead until FAMU led, 15-12. Marshall rallied to tie the set at 18 after a bad set. Once again, the teams began to trade points. With the set tied at 25, Marshall forced a Rattlers’ attacking error and ball handling error to take the set, 27-25.
The second set was all Marshall in the beginning, as it jumped out to an early 10-3 lead following kills from Walker, Cole and Hill. Florida A&M was persistent and fought its way back into the set and tied it at 18-all. The two teams traded points until the 24-23 mark when sophomore Shelby Conley sealed the set for the Herd with a kill.
Marshall was on fire in the third set by hitting .317 as a team. The Herd and Rattlers kept it close throughout the frame as the largest lead was three at the 16-13 mark. MU went on to maintain that lead and won the set, 25-20.
Walker led the Thundering Herd with 21 kills on Friday, while Weaver, Cole, Hill, and Kiekover each had over 10 kills. Kiekover had a team-high .481 hitting percentage and Hill followed by hitting .478. Simmons paced the Herd with 40 dishes and Cole had 38 assists. Kellerman finished with a team-best 32 digs.
Quotes by head coach Mitch Jacobs
On the Jacksonville match:
I thought that Jacksonville had a good game plan and did a nice job pressuring our outside hitters in serve receive and on the block. However as each set progressed I felt we got settled in and were able to take control. Our tempo to the pins was enough to make their pin blockers spread wider than they like to so when our ball control was doing its job we were able to get the balls to our middles and that was definitely where we had the biggest advantage.
On Madison Hill against Jacksonville:
Madison Hill was really connecting with both setters and moving the ball around. She obviously had a special match. And our overall floor defense was picking up a lot and getting us in system as well.
On Kiekover reaching the 1,000 career kill milestone:
Congrats to Kiekover on her 1000th kill today, to have two seniors that have been able to put away so many balls and get their 1000th kills within a week of each other is really special.
On Florida A&M:
Tonight was a rough played match. FAMU has played one of the 15 best out of conference schedules and is favored with Howard to win their league so they certainly weren't going away whenever we got leads.
On the Herd’s ability to fight through:
I was really proud to see us fight through some pretty inconsistent offense in sets one and two and hold them off for set wins.
On the Herd’s defense:
Without question the story on our side of the net was our floor defense. We kept the ball alive and stayed patient and pressured them to put the ball away. It was definitely a solid test as FAMU can really attack the ball hard.
On Kayla Simmons, Madelyn Cole and Jac’cara Walker:
Individually, I thought Kayla and Madelyn did a good job with what wasn't our best passing performance. But I give FAMU the credit, they stood deep and just bombed away from the service line all match. Jac'cara was great at mixing up her shots to keep us in plays and it was nice to see our slide clicking again.
On Cassie Weaver:
But the steadiest force for us in this match had to be Cassie Weaver. She was discipline and just controlled the five zone on defense and that is where FAMU really likes to score.
On Allie Kellerman:
Allie was tested hard and couldn't quite find a comfort zone. So seeing her fight so hard to get to balls and come away with six per set really says so much for her.
Marshall closes its non-conference schedule against the seventh-ranked Florida Gators at 4 p.m. on Saturday. The match will be aired on ESPN3.