USI volleyball’s Leah Anderson makes history with 1,000th kill

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Published: Sep. 18, 2022 at 1:18 AM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Junior outside hitter Leah Anderson (Bloomington, Illinois) made history Saturday afternoon at Victor E. Court when she became the 15th player in program history to accumulate 1,000 career kills. Anderson’s feat, however, was not enough as the University of Southern Indiana (0-11, 0-0 OVC) capped off non-conference play with a 3-0 loss (15-25, 21-25, 22-25) to Northern Illinois University (7-3).

The Eagles could not control the Huskies’ powerful attackers, falling 25-15 in the opening frame. USI began the set with big kills from sophomore middle hitter Paris Downing (Avon, Indiana) and sophomore outside hitter Abby Weber (Fishers, Indiana) to make it 3-2. NIU retaliated by going on a 7-2 run that resulted in a 9-5 USI deficit. After the Eagles cut the gap to just two, the Huskies went on a 6-0 surge from six straight kills. Down 18-10, USI got back into the game with kills from Weber and sophomore outside/right side hitter Abby Bednar (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) that pull the Eagles within six, but it was too late as the Huskies tallied six of the final eight points to claim a 1-0 match lead. As a team, USI had eight kills compared to NIU’s 18 kills.

Despite a valiant comeback, the Eagles watched the second set slip out of reach as the Huskies claimed the 25-21 victory. The frame kicked off with a 5-1 gap in NIU’s favor where USI’s sole point came from an Anderson kill. With the score at 10-6, Anderson was able to strike down her third kill to claim the 1,000-kills title and etch her name into USI history. This milestone would later spark the Eagles’ offense as USI went on a 5-0 run to make it a 17-16 game. After kills from Bednar and Downing, the Eagles had tied it at 20 apiece until the Huskies tallied five of the final six points to claim the second set win. Anderson finished the set with five of USI’s 12 kills while the team ended the frame with a .241 hitting percentage and two aces. NIU recorded a match-high .519 attacking percentage in the second frame with 16 kills and two attack errors off 27 attempts.

Another early NIU run proved costly for USI, as the Eagles lost the final set, 25-22. The Huskies started the frame with a commanding 7-3 lead until stormed back to tie it at 11 apiece. Sophomore setter Carly Sobieralski (Indianapolis, Indiana) played a big part in the comeback, earning a service ace that switched the momentum. NIU turned the tables by going on a short 4-0 trip to make it 15-11. A Weber kill and an ace from junior libero/defensive specialist Audrey Crowder (Avon, Indiana) cut the deficit in half before the Huskies struck back with a 6-1 surge that made it 21-14. The Eagles did not falter, earning seven of the next eight points to make it a one-point game. Weber and freshman libero/defensive specialist Keira Moore (Newburgh, Indiana) each earned an ace while Anderson and Weber tallied one kill each during the stretch. NIU would hold onto the lead and tally the third set win and its seventh victory of the season.

Only five Eagles provided kills with Weber nabbing eight, Bednar tallying seven, and Anderson and Downing each capturing six. Moore led the team with 11 digs with Sobieralski adding 10 digs. Sophomore middle blocker Lauren O’Neill (Covington, Indiana) led USI with three blocks as Sobieralski led the squad with 23 assists. Along with leading the Eagles in kills, Weber recorded the most aces in the match with three.

As a team, USI had 28 kills, 27 assists, and six aces along with 38 digs and six blocks (three solo and six assists). NIU ended the afternoon with 48 kills, 40 assists, and five aces along with 54 digs and seven blocks (two solo and 10 assists). The Eagles finished the match with a .126 attacking percentage while the Huskies put up an even .300 hitting percentage.

NEXT UP FOR THE EAGLES:

The Eagles stay on the road for the beginning of Ohio Valley Conference play as USI will travel to Cookeville, Tennessee for a battle against Tennessee Tech University. USI and TTU will face each other twice next weekend, once on Friday September 23 and again on Saturday September 24. This will be the first OVC match of the regular season and program history for the Eagles.