September 2, 2014

Volleyball drops weeknight match at Cleveland State, 3-0

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CLEVELAND -- Two evenly matched volleyball teams from northeast Ohio met on Tuesday night, but The University of Akron came up short against Cleveland State, falling in three sets (25-21, 25-22, 25-17).

The result moves both Akron and CSU to 2-2 overall on the season.

Freshman Anna Wenger tied a match-high mark with a personal best 11 kills, hitting .250 for the match. Head coach Ron Arenz was pleased with the rookie's performance.

"Anna started off a little rough, but moving into the second set she really pulled through and used her athleticism and vision to score important points for us," Arenz said. "This outing certainly built her confidence, and she is someone we will start looking to more throughout this early part of the season."

Amanda Bedell put up nine kills for Akron, while Julia Smagacz added six to bolster the Zips' offensive attack.

On the defensive side of the ball, Callie Mack recorded a career-high 20 digs at libero to lead both teams.

The Zips started the match out strong, playing the Vikings point for point almost the entire way as the first set saw 11 tie scores and three lead changes. Bedell finished the first frame at the head of the pack with six kills. Her tip over the net held off CSU's first set point, but the Vikings scored on the next play to go up 1-0.

After scoring on the first two plays of the second set, Akron fell victim to a 9-1 Cleveland State run and called a timeout to plan a remedy for the six-point deficit. Behind a pair of Smagacz kills and CSU attack errors, UA fought back to make it 10-9 and force the Vikings to call a timeout of their own.

Akron fell behind again by as many as six points, but a Delich kill late in the game brought the Zips to within one with the score 23-22. Cleveland State rallied to score on the last two plays to steal the second set.

Trailing midway through the third set, UA went on a mini 4-1 run to close the gap to three at 17-14. The Zips were unable to combat the effects of late unforced errors however, and CSU used those miscues to wrap up the match.

"We learned a lot about ourselves tonight in terms of being competitive and tough, and what we need to do to succeed heading into this weekend," said Arenz.

The Zips will gear up for their home opening weekend when they host their 20th non-conference tournament, the Akron Invitational on Sept. 5-6. UA will take on Bryant (12:30 p.m.) and Binghamton (8 p.m.) on Friday, followed by a doubleheader against Drake (3 p.m.) and Austin Peay (8 p.m.) on Saturday.