Nov. 19, 2005
CHICAGO - Cleveland State's best season in more than two decades didn't quite end the way the second seeded Vikings had hoped as No. 7 Wright State continued its improbable run to the Horizon League Championship title match with a 30-22, 29-31, 30-27, 18-30, 16-14 semifinal victory on Saturday evening in UIC's Flames Athletic Center.
The Raiders, who trailed 6-1 in the fifth game in Friday's second round win over UIC, rallied from an 8-3 final game deficit to upend the Vikings.
CSU (19-10) registered more kills (85 to 72), digs (98 to 84) and blocks (10 to 9) and posted a higher hitting percentage (.267 to .220), but it was Wright State (12-19) that claimed the only stat that mattered -- the final score.
"While this was a tough way to end the season, it doesn't take away from what this team was able to accomplish during the regular season," CSU head coach Chuck Voss said. "You have to give a lot of credit to Wright State, they stepped up made the big plays when it counted most. We got off to a slow start and just couldn't recover."
Nickole Kennedy led the Vikings with a match-high 23 kills and a .390 hitting percentage, while Emily Clark (16 kills, 15 digs) and Jenna Maddocks (15 kills, 11 digs) posted double-doubles. Danielle Siefker and Jenni Ramminger both notched 12 kills while Alisa Hatcher recorded a career-high 31 digs. Mel Snyder recorded career-highs with 66 assists and 17 digs; falling just three kills shy of her first career triple-double.
The Raiders were led by Sarah Poling's 15 kills and 19 digs. Tara Geegan and Lisa Griffith added 13 and 11 kills, respectively.
The Vikings started out slowly, as the Raiders jumped out to an early lead in game one and never looked back, as CSU could get no closer than three points (16-13) after the early stages. WSU hit .220 in the frame (17-8-41), while limiting CSU to just a .119 hitting percentage (12-7-42).
The Raiders got out early in the second game, opening up a 5-2 advantage. However, the Vikings scored seven of the next eight points to take a 9-6 lead. CSU would maintain a three-to-four point margin for a long stretch before WSU fought back to go up 23-22. After trading the next 13 points, a Raider service error and a kill by Maddocks gave the Vikings the game, 31-29. CSU was out-hit again, .211 to .196, but Maddocks' eight kills proved to be the difference.
It was the same story in game three as the Raiders forced Voss to call an early time-out with the Vikings trailing 6-3. CSU responded by taking the next four points, but WSU answered with a 9-5 burst to prompt another Viking time-out at 15-12. CSU made one more run to draw within one point at 23-22, but three Kimbro kills down the stretch proved to be too much as the Raiders prevailed, 30-27.
The Vikings turned the tables in the fourth game, jumping out to a 6-1 advantage. However, the lead was short-lived as WSU claimed six of the next seven points to tie the score at 7-7. CSU answered with a 10-3 burst to take control as the Vikings hit .514 (22-3-37) for the frame.
Cleveland State rode that momentum to an 8-3 advantage in the deciding game. After switching sides, the Raiders countered with five unanswered to knot the score, 8-8. The team would trade points all the way to 14-14, when two straight CSU hitting errors provided the final margin in the match.