Nov. 17, 2007
Contact: Greg Murphy
MILWAUKEE, Wis. - Cleveland State's Alexis Korovich tallied 19 kills and a career-high 23 digs for her 19th double-double of the season as the second-seeded Vikings clinched a berth in the Horizon League Tournament Championship for the first time since 2004 with a 30-23, 27-30, 30-19, 30-16 victory over third-seeded Wright State in the first semifinal on Saturday afternoon at the Klotsche Center.
The Vikings improved to 22-8 overall and will face fourth-seeded Valparaiso on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. in the championship match. The Crusaders knocked off top-seeded Milwaukee, 3-1, in Saturday's other semifinal match.
"We've had some good matches with Wright State over the past few years and this was another one," head coach Chuck Voss said. "We wanted to keep the pressure on them and we did a good job of that, especially in the final two games."
Game one was close throughout and the Vikings held just a two point (22-20) lead after a kill by WSU's Lindsey Frank. However, CSU dominated down the stretch scoring eight of the final 11 points to earn the win.
The second game was also tight, as it featured 11 ties and four lead changes. The final tie came when a kill by CSU's Jenni Ramminger forced a Raider timeout with the score knotted at 20-20. Wright State came out of the timeout and scored the next four points to take a 24-20 lead and pushed its advantage to 29-22. However, with Ramminger serving, CSU fought off five straight game points until a kill by Becca Awaa gave the Raiders the win.
"We talked about being tough and coming out of the intermission with a lot of intensity," Voss said. "I told the team that they needed to bring it every play and they responded well in the last two games."
Holding a slim 6-5 lead early in game three, the Vikings proceeded to go on an 11-5 run and take a 17-10 lead. The run featured four kills from Alexis Korovich and two from Amy Benz. The Raiders stopped the bleeding with a kill from Lizzy Gunn to make it 17-11, but the Vikings responded with five straight points, including three kills from Benz, to take a commanding 22-11 lead in cruising to the win.
The Vikings left little doubt that they would advance to the league championship by using a 4-0 run midway through the game to extend a four point lead to a 17-9 advantage. Korovich did most of the damage with three kills and also provided the match-point kill.
Benz tied Korovich for match-high honors with 19 kills, while Liz Fazio added 15 kills and Ramminger 11. Mel Snyder registered 58 assists, three aces and 10 digs, while Jordan Bateman finished with 15 digs.
"I think we are a pretty tough team to defend because we have so many people that can play well on any given night," Voss said. "We feed the ball to whoever is hot and have people step up. I really like the way we attacked the ball tonight."
CSU dominated in just about every statistical category as the Vikings posted more kills (74-50), digs (80-65) and aces (9-6) and outhit the Raiders (.286-.151).
Wright State, which closed its season at 14-18, was led by Alisha Kimbro who finished with 13 kills and 13 digs.