PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The Cleveland State volleyball team began its final weekend of non-league play at the Panther Challenge Friday afternoon, picking up a 3-1 victory over Eastern Kentucky to improve to 6-3 on the year. The Vikings will continue play at the Panther Challenge with a pair of matches against UC Santa Barbara and Pittsburgh tomorrow.
· The Viking offense was led by the trio of Alexis Middlebrooks (14 kills), Sara Skeens (14 kills) and Emily DeGeorge (11 kills).
· Gina Kilner tallied 41 assists on the match.
· Four Vikings finished with double-digit digs, led by Shannon Grega with 16.
· Emily DeGeorge added 13 digs, while Jordan Verbiak posted 11 and Gina Kilner tallied 10.
· Alexis Middlebrooks and Gina Kilner both recorded three total blocks on the match, while Mariah Carrero-Johnson and Hannah Greene both tallied two.
· As a team, the Vikings notched six service aces, including two from Shannon Grega.
· For the ninth straight match this season, Shannon Grega recorded at least one service ace, notching two against EKU.
· Friday's match marked the second double-double of the season for Emily DeGeorge, as she finished with 11 kills and 13 digs.
· Gina Kilner tallied her third double-double of the year, posting 41 assists and 10 digs.
· The Vikings tied their season-high with the six service aces against EKU.
· Friday's match marked the fourth straight victory for the Vikings.
During the opening set, the Vikings were able to gain an early advantage following three straight kills from Alexis Middlebrooks, Gina Kilner and Emily DeGeorge and then extended their lead to 16-8 following a 7-3 run to gain control of the frame. Although Eastern Kentucky was able to close the gap to four points at the 19-15 mark, Cleveland State was able to hold on to its advantage for the remainder of the set, earning the 25-18 victory.
The Vikings then cruised to a 25-15 win in set two before dropping the third set.
After trailing for the majority of the first part of the fourth set, Cleveland State was able to tie the frame at 14-14 after four straight points on an EKU error and a trio of kills from Middlebrooks and Sara Skeens forcing a Colonel timeout. Following the break, the Vikings forced an EKU error to gain a 15-14 advantage, and then traded points with Eastern Kentucky until the end of the set when Cleveland State posted back-to-back points on another Skeens kill and an EKU error to claim the 3-1 match victory.
CSU Career Record Book
· After posting 16 digs against EKU, Shannon Grega is just six digs shy of cracking the top-10 in the CSU Career Record Book, entering tomorrow's matches with 1,096 digs.
· Cleveland State will conclude non-league play tomorrow (Saturday, September 16), taking on UC Santa Barbara at 12:00 p.m. and Pittsburgh at 7:00 p.m.