VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The Illinois Tech women's volleyball team opened up the USCAA Championship's pool play portion of the tournament on Thursday. The fourth-seeded Scarlet Hawks fell to #9 Maine-Fort Kent 2-0 before downing #8 Penn State Brandywine in the best-of-three round.
- UMFK 2, Tech 0 (25-20, 25-20).
- Tech 2, PSU-Brandywine 0 (25-18, 25-17)
How it Happened – UMFK Match
- Both teams impressed on the attack in the first set, hitting over .250% (UMFK .312%, Tech .276%).
- The Bengals took the set's first substantial lead, pulling ahead 10-6 early before extending the advantage to seven at 20-13.
- Tech used a 5-1 run to get back to within two, but the Bengals used two late aces to vault back into momentum and win the first set.
- Set two was back and forth early, with no team leading by more than two until an attack error put the Bengals up 19-16.
- The Bengals managed to keep the Tech offense at bay the rest of the way, but some errors by UMFK left the door open for a comeback. However, the Bengals rattled off the last three points to win the match.
Stats to Know – UMFK Match
- The Bengals were able to down Tech thanks in large part to an impressive .288 hit percentage.
- Tech was outdug by UMFK 30-27 and recorded just 18 assists compared to the Bengals' 24.
- Each team had five total blocks.
Scarlet Hawk Standouts – UMFK Match
- Leah van der Sanden enjoyed a strong match with six kills and a .278 hit percentage.
- Alyssa Miner (.300 hit percentage) and Sara Hassell had five kills each.
- Natalie Freund led the team with 12 assists, while Courtney Curcio added a team-high 11 digs.
- Taylor Burton tallied three total blocks (one solo, two assisted).
How it Happened – PSU-Brandywinde Match
- Brandywine took an early 4-2 lead, but the Scarlet Hawks would not be denied. Behind the offense of Burton and Miner, Tech went on a huge run to build a 13-6 lead.
- The Scarlet Hawks continued to pour it on later in the set, going on a 6-0 run highlighted by two Hassell kills.
- Brandywine would creep to back within four late, but the Scarlet Hawks scored the final three points of the set for the win.
- In set two, the Scarlet Hawks scored the first three points en route to building an early 6-1 advantage.
- Brandywine would work to bring the score back to within two at 16-14, but the Scarlet Hawks pulled back ahead at 23-15. A van der Sanden kill ended the set and the match.
Scarlet Hawk Standouts– PSU Brandywine Match
- Burton was dominant, recording nine kills and three block assists to go along with a .727 hit percentage.
- Miner was also ultra-impressive with seven kills and a .700 hit percentage.
- The setting duo of Courtney Darling (12) and Freund (11) each had double-digit assists.
- Curcio led the squad with 14 digs and two service aces.
Stats to Know– PSU Brandywine Match
- Tech outhit Brandywine .283% to .018%, recording 23 kills compared to PSU's 15.
- Tech also tallied eight assisted blocks compared to just two for Brandywine.
- The Scarlet Hawks assisted on all 23 kills.
- Tech resumes pool play at 11:00 a.m. eastern time tomorrow with a matchup against #5 Carlow before taking on #1 Florida National at 3:30 p.m. eastern time. If Tech places as one of the top four out of five teams in Pool A, the Scarlet Hawks will then open single-elimination bracket play at either 5:00 p.m. eastern time or 7:00 p.m. eastern time. Bracket play is a best-of-five format for each match.