The Lady Govs’ leading scorer, junior outside hitter Nikki Doyle, averaged over 14 kills per match at the Butler Invitational in Indianapolis, Ind., but it was not enough to keep the team from being swept 0-3 in the tournament.
After losing to Central Michigan (1-3) and Butler (0-3) on Friday, Sept. 9, the Lady Govs were also defeated by Elon (1-3) on Saturday, Sept. 10.
Inconsistency offensively and errors at critical times were the theme for the Lady Govs in all three matches.
After the third loss in a row to Elon, Head Coach Bill Egbert said, “We fought hard today. However we made mental errors that cost us the match. We’ll have to keep working on that part of our game with conference starting next weekend.”
Doyle led the team with 44 total kills in the three matches. She was named Copies in a Flash Player of the Game in the first match against Central Michigan.
It took four sets for Central Michigan to defeat the Lady Govs (19-25, 25-22, 14-25, 27-29). Down two sets to one, the Lady Govs led the fourth set 23-17 and went on to get a set point at 24-21.
However, Central Michigan forced the game to overtime with a 24-24 tie and earned the win after the Lady Govs committed four attack errors.
Doyle produced 15 kills. Freshman middle blocker Hillary Plybon added 12 kills in the losing effort.
The Lady Govs looked to rebound in the second match against tournament hosts, the Butler Bulldogs, but were again unable to close the sets and were swept in three (25-17, 17-25, 24-26). The first set was the closest of the match.
The two teams tied 17 times before the Bulldogs finally earned the 27-25 win. A 7-2 run early in the second set was all the Bulldogs needed to put the set away.
The Lady Govs were held to just 10 totals kills compared to Butlers 20 in the second set.
After the Lady Govs got to set point 24-23 in the third set, the Bulldogs scored the last three points for the three-set sweep.
Doyle earned her second Copies in a Flash Player of the Game honor after posting 15 more kills. No other Lady Gov produced more than 10 kills in the match.
Elon posted a 62-55 advantage in kills to win the Lady Govs’ final game in four sets (23-25, 21-25, 29-27, 26-28). Three Lady Govs produced more than 10 kills in the game.
Doyle and Kayla Grantham, senior outside hitter, posted 14 kills. Fellow senior outside hitter Ilyanna Hernandez added 11 kills.
The three losses drop the Lady Govs to 2-9 overall. They will begin OVC conference play on the road against Eastern Kentucky Friday, Sept.16. Their home opener will be against Eastern Illinois Friday, Sept. 23. TAS