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November 16, 2008

Eagles fall to Lewis in championship match,
Tournament run comes up one win short

GLVC Tournament Championship
at #25 Lewis (31-7): 3
Southern Indiana (18-15): 0
Line Score: 25-14, 25-17, 25-22 (Box Score)

ROMEOVILLE, Ill.The University of Southern Indiana volleyball team posted a pair of upset victories this weekend to make it to their sixth Great Lakes Valley Conference championship match since 2000, but a third upset win was not in the cards as the Screaming Eagles suffered a 25-14, 25-17, 25-22 loss to No. 25 Lewis University Sunday.

USI (18-15) simply ran into a buzz-saw Sunday as the Flyers (31-7), the host for this year's tournament, hammered down 45 kills and hit .284 to capture their third straight GLVC Tournament crown.

The Eagles held a slim lead in the first set, but a 5-0 run gave the Flyers a 6-2 lead and momentum. Lewis continued to push points, claiming a 17-10 advantage later in the frame before finishing the opening game with an 8-2 run to claim a 1-0 lead in the match.

USI opened the second stanza with a 7-2 run and looked like it was poised to get itself back into the match. The Flyers, however, used an 11-1 run to reclaim the lead and turn momentum back into their favor.

The Eagles cut into Lewis's 13-8 cushion, closing the gap to two points with a 3-0 spurt, but a 9-1 push gave Lewis a 22-12 edge. Still, the Eagles battled back to cut into Lewis's lead and build momentum for the third set before the Flyers eventually settled for the eight-point win and commanding 2-0 lead in the match.

USI inched out to a 12-10 lead in the third frame, but Lewis used a 5-1 run to take control of the third set. Lewis built its lead to 20-16 later in the set, but a 3-1 run forced the Flyers to call a timeout.

The timeout paid dividends for the Flyers as they won the next three points to reach match-point at 24-19, but they could not collect the final point until USI reeled off a 3-0 spurt to make things interesting.

Margaret Buschman

USI was led by senior middle blocker Margaret Buschman (Reynolds, Indiana), who likely played her final collegiate match Sunday. Buschman had eight kills, a .238 attacking percentage, and five blocks to complete an outstanding weekend. She averaged nearly two blocks per set and attacked at a .254 clip in USI's three-match run.

Courtney Bealor

Junior outside hitter Courtney Bealor (LaPorte, Indiana) and sophomore outside hitter Brittani Oliver (Indianapolis, Indiana) also had eight kills apiece, while junior setter Melanie Pund (Ferdinand, Indiana) finished the match with 21 assists and a team-high 16 digs. Bealor averaged nearly four kills per set in the GLVC Tournament.

Lewis, which became the first team to win the GLVC championship on its home court since the Eagles won the 2004 GLVC title in Evansville, got 10 kills from junior outside hitter Stephanie Sagat and junior middle hitter Sara deBuhr. Sophomore setter Rachel Ruedi added 36 assists, while senior libero Lauren Hatter had 31 digs for the Flyers, who claimed the GLVC's automatic bid into next weekend's NCAA II Midwest Region Tournament.

Dan McDonnell,
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