by Michael Hadley
The Women’s Volleyball team didn’t waste any more time in their search for victory, taking six consecutive sets on their home in the Hampton Inn Invitational, defeating Stetson and Marshall in back to back matches.
Stetson, out of the Atlantic Sun, was slated to take place at William and Mary last weekend, but Hurricane Irene foiled their trip. The lack of experience this fall would take its toll on the Hatters as the match wore on.
The initial ten points for each side were back and forth, but IUPUI opened things up a bit at 15-10. Stetson found their stride after that, coming back to tie things at 17-each. But Steve Payne’s women were up to the task, taking eight of the next ten points and pulling out their first set victory (25-19) since taking one against Northern Illinois in their opening match.
Head Coach Steve Payne had prepared his squad
“We just focused on the basics and knew we had to work on the basics. Passed well, hit well, and set well. That’s all you can do against a team you haven’t seen play yet.”
IUPUI had similar success in the second set, but their advantage was built much faster. Brutally hard spikes were coupled with feather-soft “change ups” and the ladies quickly saw their lead climb to 19-9, forcing a timeout by Stetson.
“That’s one of the shots all hitters have. Against some teams it works really well, if they’re going to let us do it, we’re going to do it.”
In the end, it wasn’t enough, and IUPUI finessed their way to a 25-13 second set victory.
The Jaguars absolutely dominated the third set, sprinting out to a 4-0 lead, which quickly ballooned to 12-5. Stetson again called a timeout, this one at 16-6, but Coach Payne’s women were in zone and unstoppable for the first time in 2011. The Jaguars swept the match 3-0, capped by a 25-14 third set win.
“It’s always fun to win. We were kind of in a flow out there. Everyone was talking, helping each other out. We definitely like to have fun.
Coach Payne had his ladies fired up for their second match of the night, this time against Marshall from Conference USA. They came out with their guns blazing, but Marshall’s intensity was quick to match. A quick run for the Thundering Herd brought the set back to even at 17-all. Things remained knotted until IUPUI rattled off six straight points after going down 20-19 to take the first set 25-20.
Much like the first match, IUPUI’s energizing first set victory spilled over to the second set. A 6-2 run started the dominance that, after hitting a minor road bump near the middle of the set, would eventually end in a 25-16 victory.
Marshall, knowing their time for a comeback was extremely limited, stormed out to a 2-0 lead, but IUPUI responded with three points of their own. Just like the first two sets, Marshall kept things interesting around the 15-point mark, but it wouldn’t be enough. IUPUI rolled the Thundering Herd 25-18.
“We’ve scouted them a little bit, and we think we know their weak spots. We’re going to attack their weak spots.”
IUPUI will take on Eastern Michigan at 3:30 p.m. Sunday to decide the champion of the tournament. The Eagles went 2-0 Saturday, defeating Stetson and Marshall in identical 3-0 and 3-0 fashion.
Scores from Saturday
Eastern Michigan 3-0 Marshall
IUPUI 3-0 Stetson
Eastern Michigan 3-0 Stetson
IUPUI 3-0 Marshall