The Greenville University volleyball team made it four in a row, powering their way to the 2018 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Volleyball Championship. Greenville hit a combined .242 in the two matches on the day including putting down a season-high 65 kills in the championship match against Webster.
Back-to-back service aces by Webster's Kelsey Hamann helped the Gorloks open up a 7-3 lead to start the match. Greenville responded by turning to Abby Freeman for two straight kills, sparking a four-point run that tied the score. The two teams were even at 17-17 when the Panthers rolled off four straight points. Greenville would go on to close out the set for a 25-21 win.
The Panthers kept their momentum going in the second set, opening up a 7-1 lead. The top-seeded Gorloks fought their way back to cut the lead to two points, at 8-6, but were unable to get any closer. The Panthers would up a lead as large as nine points before closing the set out 25-17.
The Gorloks, who had not been swept by a conference opponent, forced a fourth set after taking the third set by the score of 26-24. With the score tied at four, Webster went on a 6-1 run by spreading the ball around. Greenville pushed the Gorloks towards the end of the set, drawing even at 24-24. However, the Gorloks withstood the Panthers serve and grabbed the lead back on a kill from Torie Grassi before closing out the set with a Panther attack error.
Greenville led the fourth set 17-12 after a kill from Anna Finch but the Gorloks gave the home crowd something to cheer for by making one late push, bringing in thoughts of a possible five-set match. Back-to-back kills by Samantha Kruse and Grassi brought the Gorloks within three points. Kruse and Sarah Jacobs combined for two more points to bring Webster within one at 19-17.
Down 23-21, the Gorloks picked up three straight points, taking the lead on a Samantha Budrovich kill, to give them the serve with a chance for the set win. But Greenville Head Coach Tom Ackerman used a timeout to bring the Gorlok momentum to halt, gaining the serve back after a Gorlok ball handling error on the next rally. An attack error by Webster gave Greenville the lead and with Allyson Grabowski serving, Anna Finch would end the rally with a kill to give the Panthers a 26-24 set win.
Greenville was led by Abby Freeman's 24 kills, earning her tournament MVP honors. Anna Finch added 17 kills while Abby Quirin finished with 52 assists and Allyson Grabowski totaled 31 digs.
Semifinal Match 1 - Webster def. Westminster, 3-2 BOX SCORE
Top-seeded Webster had to fend off #4 seed Westminster, going five sets in a 2 hour and 30-minute match. Webster scored the first two points of the opening set but the Blue Jays responded with seven straight to take control. Webster fought their way back to a 20-17 lead but the Blue Jays rallied for a run of their own. Webster and Westminster were tied up at 22 points and both teams traded tallies until Westminster scored the final two points of the set on back to back kills by Sarah Rivers to win 27-25. Webster won the next two sets, by scores of 25-20 and 25-18, but the Blue Jays were not ready for their season to be over. The Blue Jays took the fourth set 28-26 to force a fifth set. Westminster opened the final set with the first three points but the Gorloks rallied behind a pair of kills from Samantha Budrovich, taking a 7-6 lead. The Gorloks would hold the lead for the rest of the set, closing out the match on a kill by Tori Grassi. In the match, Gorlok libero Kristen Farrah would set a new program record for digs in a match with 57.
Semifinal Match 2 - Greenville def. Principia, 3-0 BOX SCORE
Greenville advanced to their fourth straight SLIAC Championship match after a 3-0 sweep of Principia College. The Panthers recorded the first four points of the match with kills from Abby Freeman and Emily Stahl during the run. After being down 8-3 Principia fought their way back into the match with three straight points after a pair of kills by Sophia Hathaway and a service ace from Amanda Roberts. But that would be the closest Principia could get as Greenville closed the match with 11 kills in their final 17 points. Greenville hit .500 in the match with 17 kills and zero errors. The second set saw the two teams even through the first ten points before Greenville took advantage of four straight attack errors by Principia. Principia did not quit, fighting their way back to a 17-15 score. But once again they would come up short from making things all square as Greenville closed out the set with a kill from Freeman for the 25-21 final. The third set saw Greenville open up another large lead, scoring the first five points. Greenville led 19-4 before Principia was able to gather themselves and continue the battle. Nikki Matters served eight straight, with Principia totaling seven points in the run including four aces by Matters. It was not enough though as Freeman sent Greenville to the championship match with a kill to end the semifinal match.
- #SLIACtion -