Eichler's 27 Kills Lead Volleyball Past Marshall 3-1
Oct. 26, 2008
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Junior outside hitter Jennifer Eichler blasted 27 kills and freshman setter Rachel Vukson contributed 51 assists to lead the University of Tulsa volleyball team to a 3-1 Conference USA win (25-20, 26-28, 27-25, 25-22) over Marshall Sunday afternoon at the Cam Henderson Center.
The win moves Tulsa to 20-6 overall and 7-4 in Conference USA, marking the fourth straight year in which the Golden Hurricane has won 20 or more matches, which is the longest such streak in school history. With the loss, Marshall falls to 10-11 overall and 3-8 in league play.
Eichler's 27 kills is the second-best total among C-USA players this season and the most kills recorded in a four-set match by any player in the conference in 2008. Her total is, however, the highest number of kills recorded in a C-USA match this season. Eichler also hit an attack percentage of .471 - 27 kills and one error in 51 attempts.
As team, the Golden Hurricane hit a .293 attack percentage (65 kills and 17 attack errors in 164 attempts), its fifth-highest percentage of the season, and highest since hitting .385 against Sam Houston State on Sept. 12. Marshall, meanwhile hit a .247 attack percentage with 63 kills against 21 errors in 170 attempts.
Vukson and senior outside hitter Beth Hodge each scored a double-double, as Hodge recorded 16 kills and 12 digs, and Vukson added 15 digs to her assists total. Sophomore middle hitter Hannah Stout had seven kills and hit a .353 attack percentage, while freshman outside hitter Kelsey Hancock also added seven kills.
Senior libero Malorey Grove tallied 19 digs to lead the way defensively for the Hurricane. Vukson also blocked three total attacks - one solo, two assists - and Eichler added one solo and one block assist to help the squad to 5.0 team blocks.
In the first set, Tulsa scored a pair of kills, one each by Eichler and Kenealy to take a 2-0 lead, but Marshall came back to tie it at 2-2. The score stayed very close until the team stood at an 8-8 tie, and when Tulsa took advantage of some Marshall mistakes and built a lead. With the score 8-7 Marshall, Tulsa's next eight points came on attack or service errors by the Thundering Herd, which did mix in three kills, but at the time the Golden Hurricane led 15-11.
Eichler scored a kill to make it 16-11, and Tulsa took its largest lead of the set at 18-12 on a kills by Stout. Marshall pulled to within three at 20-17, but TU held off its opponents and outscored Marshall 5-3 to complete the set victory 25-20.
In the second set, Marshall gained a 3-1 lead before Tulsa tied it up at three apiece on a pair of Marshall errors and took the lead on a block by Kenealy and Eichler. While the score stayed close for the most part, the Golden Hurricane was able to take a 9-7 lead on a kill by Hancock, and hold on to the advantage until it led 13-10.
Marshall then went on a tear, outscoring TU 12-4 to take a 22-17 lead. However, Tulsa was not about to quit, as it staged a rally of its own, scoring five straight points to tie the set at 22-22 on a kill by Hodge. At that point neither team would let the other get ahead by more than one point, and every time one team scored a point to take a lead, the other would come back with a point to tie and one to take the lead. With the score tied 26-26 Marshall got a kill and a TU attack error to win the set 28-26.
After intermission, Tulsa scored the first four points of the third set on a service ace by Vukson, a setting error by Marshall, a kill by Eichler and an attack error by the Herd. However, much like the rest of the match, Tulsa could not pull away and keep a large enough lead to feel comfortable. The Thundering Herd got two points back and after some back-and-forth scoring, tied the set at 10 apiece.
Tulsa moved ahead again with a block by Vukson and a kill by Eichler, and held a one or two point lead until the score was tied at 12-12. Again, the teams scored back and forth and Marshall took a two-point lead with a pair of kills and led 19-17. The Golden Hurricane tied the score at 20 apiece, and again, the teams traded barbs.
When the score was 23-22 Marshall, Eichler took three straight swings, killing two balls and committing one error to make the score 24-24. Each team scored a kill to tie at 25, and Tulsa got the final two points on a kill by Stout and a kill by Vukson to win the set 27-25.
Kenealy got a kill to score the first point in the fourth set, but a TU service error tied the score at 1-1, and much like the previous two sets, the two foes went back and forth at the beginning. With the score 5-5, Marshall pulled ahead and took a lead as large as three points at 10-7; however, Tulsa did not let the Herd get too far ahead. TU scored six of the next eight points, getting a kill by Hancock to tie the score at 11-11, and took a 13-12 lead on a Stout kill.
Marshall tied the score again at 13-13, but the Golden Hurricane went on an 8-2 run to take a 21-15 lead, and during the run got a pair of kills each from Stout and Hodge and a kill from Hancock. The Thundering Her then scored five straight points to make the score 21-20. However, Tulsa scored a kill by Hodge and three by Eichler in the end to win the set 25-22 and take a 3-1 match win.
The second and third sets each featured 10 tie scores and six lead changes, and for the whole match, Tulsa and Marshall stood at a stalemate 35 times and exchanged the lead 18 times. The numbers provide validity to the thought that this was an even match from the opening serve.
Tulsa returns to the Reynolds Center next weekend, as it takes on Rice Friday at 7 p.m. and Houston Saturday at 7 p.m. Admission for all Golden Hurricane volleyball home matches is free. For all Tulsa volleyball news and information, visit www.TulsaHurricane.com.
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