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November 14, 2008

Eagles upend #24 NKU in first round,
Face Missouri-St. Louis in GLVC semifinals

GLVC Tournament (First Round)
Southern Indiana (17-14): 3
#24 Northern Kentucky (27-7): 2
Line Score: 25-23, 18-25, 18-25, 26-24, 15-12 (Box Score)

ROMEOVILLE, Ill.—Facing a 9-7 deficit in the fifth set and with its 2008 season in jeopardy of coming to a close, the University of Southern Indiana volleyball team rallied to upset No. 24 Northern Kentucky University 25-23, 18-25, 18-25, 26-24, 15-12 Friday in the first round of the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament.

The Screaming Eagles (17-14), the number three seed from the GLVC West Division, used a 4-0 run to grab an 11-9 lead, then used another 2-0 spurt to go up 13-10 in the fifth and deciding game. After a pair of NKU points, the Eagles got back-to-back kills from junior right side hitter Kathi Hindman (Carmel, Indiana) and senior middle blocker Margaret Buschman (Reynolds, Indiana) to close the door on the Norse, who entered the tournament as the second seed from the East Division.

Margaret Buschman

It was fitting that Buschman, USI's lone senior, got the kill on the deciding point, which put the Eagles into the GLVC semifinals for the first time since 2004, as she will get the chance to play in the second round of the GLVC Tournament for the first time in her four-year career.

Buschman played a major factor at the net for the Eagles, who collected 19.0 blocks as a team. The second-team All-GLVC performer tallied eight block assists, three of which came in a fourth set that saw the Eagles rally from an early deficit to extend the match to a fifth frame.

Along with sophomore outside hitter Brittani Oliver (Indianapolis, Indiana), Buschman helped seal the fourth-game victory for the Eagles with a block, one of six team blocks for USI in the fourth set.

USI's scrappy play was evident during the entire match, especially in the first set when the Eagles rallied from an 11-3 hole to pull out the two-point victory and gain a 1-0 lead in the match. The Eagles held the Norse, who poses the GLVC's most proficient offense, to a .121 attacking percentage in the first set as they gained the upper hand in the match.

Courtney Bealor

Junior outside hitter Courtney Bealor (LaPorte, Indiana), who finished the contest with a team-high 17 kills, paced the Eagles in the opening stanza with five kills and a .444 attacking percentage.

Northern Kentucky (27-7), however, showed why it was able to win 16-of-18 GLVC regular-season matches as it stormed back in the second and third sets to take a 2-1 lead.

The Norse, which had four players named first-team All-GLVC Thursday, hit .316 in the second set and .483 in the third set as they took control of the match.

USI, however, got outstanding efforts from Hindman, Oliver, and junior setter Melanie Pund (Ferdinand, Indiana) in the fourth and fifth sets to help the Eagles pull off the upset.

Kathi Hindman

Hindman had seven of her 12 kills in the final two games, while Pund racked up 20 assists, six digs, and two blocks in the fourth and fifth sets alone. Oliver, who finished with 12 kills and 12 digs, had five kills and a .400 attacking percentage in the fourth set before racking up five digs in the deciding game.

Pund finished the match with 44 assists, three kills, three service aces, 10 digs, and six blocks, while junior middle blocker Ashley Henricks (Greenwood, Indiana) aided USI's effort with eight blocks (three solo and five assists).

In addition to her 12 kills and .308 attacking percentage, Hindman added four aces and four blocks as USI defeated Northern Kentucky for the first time since 2004 and for the third straight time in the GLVC Tournament—the last being a 3-2 come-from-behind victory in the 2003 GLVC Tournament.

USI will play the top seed from the GLVC West Division, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Saturday at 5 p.m. in Romeoville, Illinois. UMSL (23-7) swept Bellarmine University 25-15, 25-15, 25-23 in the first round Friday afternoon.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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