Knights News
Freshman Lauren Gregory tallied a match-high nine kills in MU's league season-opening win on Wednesday.
Freshman Lauren Gregory tallied a match-high nine kills in MU's league season-opening win on Wednesday.
Volleyball - Wed, Sep. 4, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS - The Marian University volleyball team opened the 2013 home season in style with a straight-sets victory over the University of Saint Francis (Ind.) on Wednesday night at the Physical Education Center. MU posted a 25-17, 25-10, 25-16 win to move to 4-1 on the season and 1-0 in Crossroads League play.

Freshman Lauren Gregory led the MU attack with a match-high nine kills, while senior Becky Gramer added eight kills. Freshman Emily Graves added six kills for MU. Senior Kacie Kelly tallied a double-double after she dished out a match-high 26 assists and tallied 10 digs. Freshman Taylor Greenan notched a team-high 11 digs, while senior Morgan Merrill had five block assists and Gregory added four block assists. MU recorded eight blocks as a team in the win.

"We came out focused right away," said head coach Ashlee Pritchard. "We had a couple of let ups, but what was exciting was to see the team fight through some really hard times we had. We didn't make great plays, but we were able to pull it out."

After exchanging points to open the match, MU went on a 6-2 run with the score 5-3 to take an 11-5 advantage. However, USF battled back to cut it back to two at 12-10. MU would out-score the Cougars by a 13-7 margin to earn the 25-17 first-set victory. Gregory had four kills to lead MU in the set.

The second set saw MU take control. The Knights broke out to a 3-0 lead and never looked back. They held a 13-6 lead when they went on a 6-1 run to open a 19-7 lead. They would out-score USF by a 6-3 margin the rest of the way to take the two-set lead. Gramer led the attack in the second set with five kills, while Gregory and Kelly added three apiece.

"We came out in the second set and really dominated the second set," said Pritchard. "Saint Francis is definitely a team that is getting better every year and they aren't a team you can take for granted. I think part of that match we did. But, I was really proud of our team for getting into some pretty big holes and being able to fight through it and fight for the entire match."

The final set featured eight ties and six lead changes as USF came out fighting. After MU opened a 5-3 lead early, the Cougars went on a 4-0 run to take a 7-5 lead before, with the score 9-6 USF, MU went on a 5-0 run to take an 11-9 lead. The teams would be tied at 11, 12, 13 and 14 before MU went on a 6-0 run to open a 20-14 lead. They never looked back as they scored five of the final seven points to earn the 25-16 win and the match sweep. Four Knights tallied a pair of kills in the final set, but MU took advantage of 10 hitting errors by USF and committed just one in the set.

"The front line has really worked hard over the last couple of weeks," said Pritchard. "We have been working really hard on blocking and just talking with each other to find the holes for those hitters and today I think we did a really good job of keeping that ball in play. Blockers were getting great touches whether it was over the net or getting touches for our defense to play so that was great to see."

MU will hit the road on Friday when the Knights head to Mount Vernon, Ohio to take on Mt. Vernon Nazarene University (4-4). The match is slated for a 7 p.m. first serve.

Saint Francis (Ind.) (4-5; 0-1 CL)1710160
Marian University (4-1; 1-0 CL)2525253
Indianapolis, Ind.
Saint Francis (Ind.)Indv. LeadersMarian University
#10 Sara Clark - 5Kills #13 Lauren Gregory - 9
2 Players (#10,#6) - 2Blocks #14 Morgan Merrill - 5
#3 Rachel Weaver - 14Digs #2 Taylor Greenan - 11
#10 Sara Clark - 2Aces #9 Katie Kaiser - 3
Saint Francis (Ind.)Team StatisticsMarian University
-.033Hitting %: .221
3.0Blocks: 8.0
40Digs: 44
4Aces: 8