AURORA, Ill. – Behind 17 kills from junior Kristy Birkemeier (Columbus Grove, Ohio) and another double-double from senior Rachel Billing (Anna, Ohio), Ohio Dominican's volleyball team defeated Maryville (Mo.) 3-1 (17-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-14) Friday afternoon in the opening match of the GLIAC/GLVC Crossover Tournament.
Billing registered 14 kills and 23 digs, freshman Caitlin Kusan (Westerville, Ohio) hit .500 with nine kills, junior Meredith Shifley (Galion, Ohio) had a match-high 28 assists and senior Stacy Rogg (Cincinnati, Ohio) had 21 digs to also lead the Panthers (11-7).
After scuffling in the first set, allowing Maryville (5-11) to hit .364 as a squad, ODU roared back with a seven-point victory in the second. The Panthers broke open what had been a 10-8 game with a 5-1 surge, building their lead to six points, and ODU later scored six straight points behind an ace and a kill by Billing and consecutive kills from Birkemeier.
The Panthers would not trail in either the third or fourth frames. ODU scored eight of the first nine points in the third set, as Birkemeier tallied three kills and freshman Brianna Reder (Maineville, Oho) had two to push the Panthers to a big lead early. Maryville drew as close as 23-20, but terminations by Birkemeier and Billing sealed the set for ODU.
A strong start to the fourth set also helped the Panthers, as Shifley's ace put ODU in front 6-2. The lead grew to 11 points at 18-7 on a kill by Kusan as the Panthers forced Maryville into a -.028 attack percentage, with nine errors to just eight kills, while ODU hit .310 itself in the set.
Freshman Kelsey Snyder (Macomb, Mich.) had 20 assists and Billing chipped in with six aces – the most by a Panther since Ashley Braskett had six against Daemen College on Sept. 29, 2007. Billing's 23 digs were a season-high, and she now has 11 double-doubles this season. Kusan has now hit at least .500 in six matches this fall.
The Panthers return to action with a pair of matches on Saturday to close out the tournament, as ODU takes on Drury at 10 a.m. before a 4 p.m. match with Quincy.
Contact: Scott Miles