HAWKS DEFEAT SAVANNAH STATE IN THREE SETS TO FINISH 4-1 IN TIGER INVITE
Sept. 2, 2012
SAVANNAH, Ga. - UMES finished up the Tiger Invitational with a victory over tournament host Savannah State in three sets (25-23, 25-20, 25-9) on Sunday, improving to 7-1 overall and winning four of five matches this weekend. Savannah State falls to 0-8 on the year.
With the win on Sunday, the Hawks earn second place in the Tiger Invitational with a 4-1 tournament record, finishing just behind New Mexico, which went 4-0. Southern Utah got third place after going 3-1.
The Tigers earned an early 4-0 run off two attack errors and a Bridgette Stephens ace to lead 5-2, getting to 8-4 later after winning three straight points. Off the serving of Megan Mueller (Manchester, Mo.), Maline Vaitai (Salt Lake City, Utah) hit three straight kills in a 5-0 to guide UMES to a 9-8 lead. The teams tugged back-and-forth when at 14-14, kills from Bridget Ebster-Schwarzenberger (St. Veiberstrabe, Austria) and Vaitai, followed by a Victoria Williams (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Kaveinga Lea'Aetoa (Salt Lake City, Utah) combo block gave UMES a 17-14 advantage. But SSU pushed back, guided by kills from Jasmine Waite, to eventually take a 22-21 advantage, but UMES won four of the final five points to take the set 25-23.
At 3-3 in the second set, the Hawks took advantage of three straight SSU attack errors to move up 6-3. After a Bryana Gatis kill, Vaitai served the Hawks to a 5-0 run, started by the first kill of the year for Emily Shannon (Cross Junction, Va.) and ended by an Ndidi Ibe (North Richland Hills, Texas) kill, for an 11-4 UMES lead. The Hawks kept a strong advantage, aided by an Elli Steiner (Hallwang, Austria) service ace to push UMES up 18-10. The Tigers cut into their deficit with a 4-0 run, finished on a Waite and Chikia Jones combo block, to pull within four. At 20-16 UMES, an Ebster-Schwarzenberger kill and a pair of Mueller aces gave the Hawks a 23-16 lead. UMES thwarted a comeback attempt by Savannah State and won 25-20 to take a two-set lead in the match.
Lea'Aetoa started the third set on fire with three consecutive kills. A following Ebster-Schwarzenberger ace put UMES in front 4-0 to start. After Bianca Brochu earned a kill, the Hawks won five of the six points, with two Vaitai kills and a pair of assists from Corey Haynes (Falls Church, Va.), for a 9-2 advantage. UMES continued to dominate as at 9-4, the Hawks took nine straight on Vaitai's serving, with Ibe contributing two blocks and a kill and Ebster-Schwarzenberger getting a block and kill, for an 18-4 lead. Consecutive points on an Ibe kill then ace put UMES up 20-5. The Hawks lead was insurmountable as UMES finished on a 3-0 run capped by two Lea'Aetoa aces for a 25-9 set win, the best game finish of the year. UMES shut out Savannah State to finish the tournament.
UMES's defense held Savannah State to a -.024 hitting percentage. Vaitai led the Hawks with 12 kills and eight digs, hitting .458 in the match. Ibe tallied eight kills and four blocks, while Lea'Aetoa had five kills, five aces and four blocks. Ebster-Schwarzenberger earned a UMES career-high seven kills and seven digs.
The Tigers were led by Waite, who had seven kills with three digs and a pair of blocks. Keandra Lewis and Bryana Gadis each had three kills, with the ladder earning nine digs.
The Hawks will return home and prepare for the WVU Golden Horseshoe Challenge next weekend, taking on West Virginia University on Friday, September 7th at 3:00 p.m. in Morgantown.