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November 13, 2004

Eagles win GLVC Tournament title,
Advance to NCAA II Tournament for second time

USI 3, SIU Edwardsville 1

EVANSVILLE, Ind.—The University of Southern Indiana volleyball team overcame a one-game deficit to defeat Southern Illinois University Edwardsville 25-30, 30-24, 30-20, 30-25 and win the GLVC Tournament title Saturday in front of a Physical Activities crowd of 382.

With the win, USI (23-6) earns the GLVC’s automatic bid into the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional Tournament and will wait to find out who its opponent will be in the first round as well as where and when the tournament will be played.

It will be the second time in the program's 25-year history and the second time in three years that the Eagles have advanced to the NCAA II Tournament.

Game one saw the Cougars hammer out a .406 attacking percentage and overcome a 16-11 deficit.

SIUE (25-7), which finished the first game on a 6-1 run, started the second game with two straight points and looked to have a huge edge in momentum.

The Screaming Eagles, however, held their ground and improved their defense, holding the Cougars to attacking clips of .135, -0.34, and .037 in the second, third, and fourth games, respectively.

Sophomore libero Amanda Probst (Wheeler, Illinois) recorded a team-high 18 digs while junior middle blocker Laura Ellerbusch (Newburgh, Indiana) and senior middle blocker Leeanne Gross (Decatur, Indiana) had six and five blocks, respectively, to lead the defensive surge.

Gross, who had eight digs, led the Eagles on the offensive end with 16 kills and a .333 attacking percentage and moved into second on USI’s all-time career kills list with 1,492.

Ellerbusch and sophomore outside hitter Chelse Doubler (Griffin, Indiana) each had 14 kills, while sophomore outside hitter Emily Ryan (Batesville, Indiana) had 12 kills. Freshman setter Stephanie Wilson (Terre Haute, Indiana) spurred the Eagles’ attack to a .236 attacking percentage and finished with a match-high 51 assists to go with three service aces and 12 digs.

Senior right side hitter Natalie Atzinger (Louisville, Kentucky) finished with 12 digs and three blocks as the Eagles extended their home winning streak to 17.

Junior outside hitter Shannon Winkeler and junior middle hitter Heather Bonde had 17 and 16 kills, respectively, to lead SIUE, which was without All-Conference outside hitter Kindra Westendorf. Junior setter Krystal Majernik had 43 assists and junior libero Allison Buss finished with a match-high 22 digs.

Dan McDonnell,
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