September 4, 2011

SPORTS: Volleyball Falls In Hampton Inn Invitational Finale

by Michael Hadley

Despite enjoying early success on their home court, IUPUI was unable to pull out a victory in their third and final game of the Hampton Inn Invitational, falling 3-1 to tournament champion Eastern Michigan.
After winning their first two games of the season, a rough start to the first set would set the tone for the entire match. Disconnected passing and a lack of kills quickly became a 7-2 Eagle advantage. Despite changing tactics, Steve Payne's ladies were unable to mount any kind of comeback. The Jaguars dropped the first set 25-12, but then things began to look up.

Though problems persisted, IUPUI began to find its groove in the second set. A 20-11 EMU advantage was quickly reeled in, seeing the Jaguars get as close as 24-22. The comeback could not be completed, but it was a much better showing than the earlier set.

Out of the ten minute timeout, the Jaguars came ready to play. Seeming more like a team up 2-0 than the ones fighting for their lives, IUPUI sprinted out to a 20-10 advantage. Eastern Michigan wouldn't go down without a fight, and chipped away at the Jaguar lead before finally dropping the third set 25-20.

The Eagles seemed to be done messing around after their first set loss of the tournament, and turned on the afterburners in the fourth set. EMU jumped out to an 11-7 advantage before finishing off the home squad 25-18 to take the tournament championship match 3-1.

The tournament was an important stepping stone in the search for conference glory for IUPUI. The Jaguars won their first two matches (2-6) of the season, managed to make each a clean sweep, and saw Bethany Folger (20 blocks for the weekend) and Shari Bernhardt (33 digs in the finale) both be named to the all-tournament team.

IUPUI competes next in the Kent State Mizuno Open on September 9-10, taking on host Kent State and William and Mary on Friday and Robert Morris on Saturday.

Eastern Michigan 25-25-20-25 (3)
IUPUI 12-22-25-18 (1)

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