Northern Kentucky volleyball took its first match of the NKU Invitational against Seattle University thanks in large part to junior outside hitter Haley Libs, who barely missed out on a 20-and-20 match in the 25-15, 22-25, 25-22, 25-21 victory. The Norse move to 4-0 on the season, while Seattle dips to 1-6.
“I thought Seattle did an outstanding job tonight, and we did a good job as well. We ended up changing who we were serving in the third and fourth sets and I think that helped keep them out of system.” – Head Coach Liz Hart
First Set Summary
· Northern Kentucky showed its enthusiasm to play in front of its home crowd, jumping out to an 11-2 lead in an offensive campaign spearheaded by sophomore outside hitter Laura Crawford and senior opposite Drew Hendricks, as the pair recorded all seven of NKU’s first kills.
· Seattle made a run in the last few points, but NKU held on to the clear set win, 25-15.
· Crawford led the charge with seven kills on 12 attempts, while Hendricks and Libs had four apiece on six and five swings, respectively. Libs was also solid in the back row, leading both sides with seven digs.
· The Norse were explosive offensively with a .448 hitting percentage and also dug up 18 of Seattle’s attempts while holding the Redhawks to .176 and just seven digs.
Second Set Summary
· Seattle secured a 25-22 win in the second set behind the heavy arm of outside hitter Katarina Marinkovic, who recorded eight kills in the frame.
· Freshman middle blocker Bailey Western, who made her career debut on the home floor, recorded four kills on five attempts to lead the Norse offense.
· NKU hit for a higher percentage than Seattle and pushed back with a five-point run while facing set point, but were unable to find a way to take the set.
Third Set Summary
· The third frame featured balanced offenses on both sides, as NKU hit .297 and Seattle hit its match high of .316.
· Libs started to emerge as the offensive leader, terminating eight balls on 13 attempts while adding four digs and a clutch ace to give the Norse the set point.
· Crawford showcased her defensive skills, picking up six digs in the set.
Fourth Set Summary
· NKU’s outsides led the way in the final set, with Crawford recording six kills to go with five digs while Libs blasted nine kills, including the final two points of the match.
· Once again, both teams hit for a high percentage with NKU going off for .372 while Seattle hit .275. The two teams went back and forth until the midway point, when two kills from Libs and a block on Seattle’s most efficient hitter propelled the Norse to an 18-15 lead.
· NKU went on to keep the Redhawks at arm’s reach, winning the final set, 25-21.
· Libs enjoyed one of the most rounded performances of her career with 24 kills and a match-high 19 digs while hitting at a .463 clip. She recorded her 11th 20-kill match of her career, along with her 22nd career double-double and her third of the season.
· Crawford and Olsen also recorded double-doubles, with Crawford adding 15 kills on a .238 hitting percentage and added a career-best 18 digs.
· Olsen had her first career double-double with 51 assists and 13 digs, both career bests for the sophomore.
· Both Libs and Crawford are averaging double-doubles through the first four matches. Libs has an average of 14.5 kills and 15.75 digs per match while Crawford is averaging 14.75 kills and 13.75 digs a match. Both are also recording more than four kills per set.
· Hendricks and Western booth added eight kills and hit above .300, while Georgia Childers added seven kills. Hendricks surpassed her career best in blocks, leading the team with five rejections, and Childers added four of her own.
· The Norse out-dug the Redhawks 68-54 and hit over .300 for the second time this season, performing at a .315 rate while Seattle hit .227.
· The Norse have two matches remaining in the NKU Invitational tomorrow. Sacramento State, which won a five-set thriller over BGSU, is first on the docket at 12:30 p.m. before NKU closes out the weekend against the Falcons at 7 p.m.
Assistant Athletic Communications Director
Northern Kentucky University