Break out the brooms: Herd volleyball sweeps WVU 3-0, retains Golden Ball

A we l l – rounded, constantly improving Marshall University women’ s volleyball team improved to 9-9 (3-0) Wednesday night as it defeated in-state rival , West Virginia University (11-5 (0-1)), in the Battle for the Golden Ball three sets to none (25-19, 25-17, 25-22).

WVU was outplayed in every way, and the statistics proved that to be true. The Thundering Herd’s attacking percentage was 33 to WVU’s 19, a percentage that never faltered in any set, as it was greater than the Mountaineer’s by double digits in the first two.

Numbers don’t lie when analyzing how exactly the winning team came out on top. Marshall can owe this victory to its unpredictability when choosing who makes the kill. Six Marshall player’s totaled 5 plus kills compared to WVU’s 4.

Marshall made a living with its mid-court assault, and often changed spike speeds to keep WVU on their toes. The leader of the capricious barrage, Marshall Sophomore middle blocker Ally Kiekover, recorded a staggering 16 kills on 24 attempts.

Kiekover owes her 67 percent hitting to assist leader Sammie Bane and the initial serves made by her teammates.

“It all starts with the service deep ball,” Kiekover said. “Our service deep is really sound. That helps for Sammie to be able to get the ball in the middle. We need to be able to have good passes in order to be able to have those swings. It started there and we just got on a roll.”

Throughout each set, the two rivals were only tied past 10 points once, which was in the first set at 13- 13. Never again did Marshall relinquish a lead past the 10-point mark.

“We started off a little slow in the first set ,” Kiekover said. “Then we realized if we ’ re not going to have a lot of energy, i f we ’ re not going to keep pushing, this team is going to fight back. When it was tied, that was the time where we had to step on the gas and go.”

Sometimes in the heat of the battle, teams don’ t notice the feats they accomplish within the competition and simply concentrate on the game plan.

“We didn’t talk about that ,” head coach Mitch Jacobs said. “It all came down to serve and pass. Our ball control was tighter, and they had some troubles with it , s o they had to play out o f system.”

The Thundering Herd volleyball team will play next at North Texas on Oct . 5 .

Scott Bolger can be contacted at bolger@marshall.edu.

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