November 16, 2002
Eagles win GLVC title with 3-0 victory over NKU,
Advance to NCAA II Tournament for first time
University of Southern Indiana (25-7): 3
Northern Kentucky University (22-10): 2
Game Scores: 30-28, 30-25, 30-28
ROMEOVILLE, Ill.—For the first time in its 23-year history, the University of Southern Indiana volleyball team will compete in the NCAA Division II Tournament. The Screaming Eagles locked up the bid by defeating Northern Kentucky University, 3-0, for the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament championship Saturday afternoon at the Neil Carey Arena on the campus of Lewis University.
The win snaps NKU’s five-year reign over the GLVC and raises USI’s record to 25-7 on the season. It is also the first time in school history that the Eagles have won the GLVC volleyball championship. NKU falls to 22-10 overall and will have to wait for the NCAA II Selection Committee to decide its fate.
“The championship itself means so much to these girls,” Head Coach Craig Bere said. “They have gone through a lot over the last four years and worked hard to get to this point. The fact that we are going to the NCAA II Tournament shows that USI is ready to make a big jump in volleyball.”
Led by senior outside hitter Shannon Wells (Merrillville, Indiana) and sophomore middle blocker Leeanne Gross (Decatur, Indiana), the Eagles were able to rack up 57 kills and a .301 hitting percentage. Wells led all attackers as well as defenders with 19 kills and 15 digs. The GLVC “Player of the Year” compiled a .317 attacking percentage in the process.
“Shannon came up with some huge digs, particularly in the third game, to help keep us alive,” Bere said. “She gave us a chance to win the final game.”
Gross compiled 11 kills, 12 digs, and a match-high .455 attacking percentage (min. 10 attempts).
USI also got a great effort from senior right side hitter Greta Grinstead (Mt. Vernon, Indiana), who played for NKU as a freshman and sophomore. Grinstead scorched her former team with 10 kills and a .421 hitting percentage.
“We were well balanced,” Bere explained. “Shannon had more attempts, but the fact that Leeanne and Greta were playing so well, really put us over the top. They stepped up in some critical situations with some big kills.”
The Eagles got out of the gates on a good note, compiling 20 kills and a .364 attacking percentage in the first game. USI also had to face a tough NKU attack in the first set, but was able to come out with a 30-28 victory and a 1-0 lead the match.
Both attacks struggled in the second game, but it was USI’s attack that prevailed. The Eagles held NKU to a .025 hitting percentage as they defeated the Norse in the second frame, 30-25.
Down by six at one point in the third game, the Eagles rallied to tie the match at 17. USI’s attack out-dueled NKU’s attack down the stretch as it won the final game, 30-28, and took the match in three games. The Eagles hit .391 in the third stanza and recorded 23 kills.
Uncertain of whether or not she would play in the championship, junior setter Kim Boehmer (Cincinnati, Ohio) gave the Eagle attack opportunities the entire match, recording 49 assists in the process.
“Boehmer had an outstanding match after suffering an ankle injury that could have kept anyone out,” Bere said of the three-time All-GLVC performer. “To come back and play with so much heart and set a well distributed match, says a lot about her. She really ran our offense today.”
The Eagles, who had lost in the previous two GLVC Championship matches to NKU, will have to wait for the NCAA II Selection Committee to make its announcements on seeding of next week’s NCAA II Regional Tournament. USI will, likely, have to travel to Allendale, Michigan, but it will not be officially announced until Sunday night.
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