Sept. 23, 2012
DALLAS, Texas - Marshall volleyball staged a five-set showdown in Dallas, Texas on Sunday afternoon and came out on top, defeating SMU 3-2 (23-25, 25-23, 31-29, 21-25, 15-8).
The Thundering Herd jumped to 12-5 (2-1 C-USA) with the win, while staying undefeated (4-0) in matches that have endured five sets. SMU dropped to 4-11 (1-2 C-USA) with the loss.
"This is a fantastic win for us," commented head coach Mitch Jacobs. "To be this resilient and win the fifth set after a very poor start in set four makes me very proud of their ability to continue forward and find a way."
Marshall's defense was a key contributor in the victory, as the Herd recorded 13.0 blocks (26 blocks assists) compared to the Mustangs 12.0 (4 solos, 16 assists).
"To out-block what I feel is one of the premier blocking teams in our league shows a great deal of determination in our girls," continued Jacobs.
Leading at the net with 13 block assists was freshman Jillian Shemanski. The middle blocker goes down in Marshall history tied for second in blocks for a single match. She also ties for sixth all-time in Conference USA's block assists in a single match.
Three different Marshall players earned double-doubles during the match including outside hitters Laura Der and Katy Schad, along with setter Sammie Bane.
Bane posted her second-highest assist mark of the year with 50 set-ups and contributed 12 digs on defense. She also led the team in service aces with four.
"Sammie was brilliant in the fifth set," said Jacobs. "Throughout she kept everyone in sync, but was at her best when we needed it."
Der finished with a career-high 20 kills, while adding 16 digs and a career-high six blocks.
Sacha Byous-McConnell and Schad followed Der's offensive effort with 15 and 14 kills, respectively. Byous-McConnell led the team with a .360 hitting percentage, while Schad recorded a team-leading 18 digs.
"Sacha gave us a great offensive presence when we needed it most and I thought Katy was very steady throughout," noted Jacobs. "Katy gave us a few great swings when we needed them most."
After splitting the first two sets 25-23, Marshall fought off three set points in the third set to win the game 31-29. Byous-McConnell and Der each had seven kills in the set, while Shemanski added four blocks.
Needing a win in the fourth set, the Mustangs forced Marshall to a negative hitting percentage and six total kills to extend the match to a deciding set after winning 25-21.
The Herd recorded a .400 team hitting percentage after only committing 2 errors on 15 swings in the fifth set, bringing home the3-2 win. Bane contributed two service aces in the game, helping seal the victory.
Marshall returns home for its next two conference matches as the team faces UCF and Southern Miss. The Herd will play UCF on Friday at 7 p.m. ET and follow with a 12:30 p.m. ET match against the Golden Eagles on Sunday.