BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — After dropping the first two sets, the Irish fought admirably, claiming the next two sets to tie the match at 2-2. However, the comeback fell short, as Western Kentucky rallied to win the decisive fifth set and come away with the 3-2 victory.
Junior Jemma Yeadon led the team in kills, posting 14, bringing her season total to 66. She also recorded 12 digs and six blocks through the five sets. Senior Ryann DeJarld led the team in digs with 23. She broke the 100-dig mark for the season in the first set, finishing with four to put her at 101. Dejarld now boasts 120 digs through six matches in 2018.
Senior Meg Morningstar led the team in blocks with 10 and was a key component in keeping the Irish in the match through five sets.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Irish started out the match strong, with lots of back-and-forth action, battling WKU to an early 4-4 tie. The Hilltoppers then jumped ahead of the Irish, taking five of the next seven points. The team found it hard to rally after falling back 9-6 and WKU took the first set 25-17.
The Hilltoppers took an early lead, going up 9-4 on the Irish, a deficit that later proved too great to overcome. The team fell to an identical score as the first, dropping set two, 25-17.
The third set started out similar to the one prior, with WKU taking an early 9-4 lead. This time, however, the Irish came back and tied it at nine apiece. The team did not look back from there.
Hungry for their first set win of the match, the team powered through, leaving the Hilltoppers in the dust by going on a number of multi-point runs, including two five-point scoring runs. With WKU storming back, and tying it at 23-23, the Irish claimed the final two points to win the set.
The Irish pulled out all the stops early in the fourth. After falling behind 3-1 early, they went on to post five-straight points, and six out of seven kills to boast an 8-4 lead. After the early excitement from the Irish bench, the Hilltoppers came back and kept the game close with the two teams trading the lead a multitude of times.
With the Hilltoppers reclaiming the lead, the Irish were sure to test them, keeping it within one late in the set. As WKU attempted to reach match-point, leading 24-20, the Irish refused to quit and rallied to ultimately claim the set 27-25 and force a fifth set.
After jumping out to a 3-1 lead to start the set, the Irish fell to a familiar point deficit of 9-4. Not wanting a repeat of the second set, the team came back and put themselves within two of the lead on a 3-0 scoring run but ultimately fell 15-10 in the final set.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
The team leader in kills, Jemma Yeadon posted her fourth double-digit kill performance in six matches, recording 14 against the Hilltoppers. Her 14 kills ties her season-high tally, previously posting 14 in the season opener against Weber State. In addition to her third consecutive double-digit kill performance, Yeadon recorded her second straight double-digit dig night with 12. She was also third on the team in blocks on the evening evening, finishing with six through five sets.
The Irish conclude the Holiday Inn – University Plaza Invitational tomorrow, Saturday, September 8. Their first match, against Miami (OH) will begin at 10:30 a.m. ET, followed by a contest against Chattanooga to conclude the weekend tournament at 5:30 p.m. ET.
Following this weekend’s contests, the team will head to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to play Michigan in the first match of a home-and-home series on Friday, September 14. They return to Purcell Pavilion to finish the series with the Wolverines at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 16.