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September 12, 2013

 

Women's volleyball team wins CSU Invitational

By John Cuturic

The Cleveland State University Vikings women's volleyball team faced a triple-header at the Cleveland State Invitational this weekend, beating High Point University 3-0, losing 1-3 to Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) and beating UC Irvine 3-2.

The Vikings won the tournament overall, with Cleveland State, IPFW and UC Irvine all finishing 2-1. High Point went 0-3. Cleveland State took the championship by winning the last game of the tournament against UC Irvine.

But before that, the Vikings played the High Point Panthers Friday in front of a high-energy home crowd — more than 200 people. The crowd included members of the Cleveland State wrestling team, who came shirtless with "GO VIKINGS!" painted on their chests.

The Vikings took the match 3-0, drumming High Point 25-15 in a first set where the Panthers made plenty of service errors early. The Vikings won the second set 25-13. The third set was neck and neck until the end, but the Vikings won 25-22.

Vikings coach Chuck Voss said that the Panthers made offensive adjustments in the third set, and it took the Vikings a while to re-adjust. He said he was very happy with his team's performance.

"They're [High Point] a good team," Voss said. "I knew they would give us some trouble."

Voss said that he wanted his team to concentrate on taking it one play at a time heading into the rest of the weekend.

“When we can just focus on the next play,” Voss said, “good things generally happen for us.”

On Saturday, the Vikings played the IPFW Mastodons. The Vikings lost the first set 17-25, and the second set 27-29.

The Vikings had a problem with faults here, getting called for several double hits. At times, they also had trouble stopping the Mastodons' attacks. Surprises came often from IPFW's middle and right-side hitters.

The Vikings took set three 25-17, but they lost the match 1-3.

Voss said that IPFW is a very strong team, but also that the Vikings didn't have the emotion and energy they needed.

"We talked about it after the game," Voss said. "You can't fake the emotion."

Saturday evening, the Vikings played their final game of the tournament with the UC Irvine Anteaters. They won the match 3-2. The Anteaters got the Vikings off-balance at times, with their blocks up at the net moving a lot to help (the Anteaters had 24 block assists).

But the Vikings hung in there. Ally Beck, Grace Kaugh and Christina Toth all posted strong performances. Beck and Kaugh both had 16 points, while Toth had 11.5, scoring especially well in the fifth set. The combination of Annie Djukic and Kerry Winchester also proved reliable for Cleveland State, with Winchester scoring 9.5 points.

In the fifth set, the Vikings took the lead early and never lookedback. Voss said that his team did a great job taking it one play at a time against the Anteaters, who Voss said are a strong team.

“They’re tall, physical – a great team that will win a lot of matches,” Voss said. “UC Irvine is the best serving team we’ve played in a long time.”

After beating Irvine and placing first at the Cleveland State Invitational, the Vikings are now 5-2 on the season.

Voss said he was very happy with a 2-1 score against this tournament field, especially since he’s playing two freshmen (Grace Kaugh and Aaliyah Slappy) and many sophomores.

“I’m thrilled with our tournament overall,” Voss said. “Two-one with this field is great.”
The Vikings will play next on the road at the Cincinnati Tournament, starting Friday next week.

They’ll have their next home game in about a month, when they play University of Illinois at Chicago on Oct. 11.