Offense Sparks Panthers To Season-Opening Win Over Fairfield
Aug. 24, 2012
DURHAM, NC - Sophomore Julie Kolinske had 19 kills to lead four players in double figures as the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's volleyball team opened the 2012 season with a 25-17, 22-25, 25-20, 25-21 win over Fairfield Friday night in the opening match of the Duke Invitational.
The Panthers controlled the match offensively, hitting .286 for the contest. Junior Rachel Neuberger and senior Elizabeth Egerer added 13 kills apiece while freshman Maggie Dunbar supported the efforts with 10 kills and a .400 hitting clip. Sophomore setter Kayla Price had 48 assists in directing the Panther attack, which set the tone by hitting .600 in the opening frame.
As always, the Milwaukee defense did plenty to aid in the victory. Four players reached double figures in digs, led by 14 from senior Anna Bartz. Kolinske and freshman Maisey Mulvey each added 12, while Taylor Golabowski pitched-in with 11.
UWM held Fairfield to a .200 hitting clip overall and the Stags hit no better than .146 in any of the three sets they lost. Brianna Dixon had 12 kills to lead Fairfield, which was picked to win the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference this season.
"That match was a good test for us. It was not easy," UWM head coach Susie Johnson said. "They put us in some tough spots but we were able to come through, make some adjustments and finish with a win."
Milwaukee is the preseason favorite in the Horizon League but is fielding a team with 10 freshmen and sophomores. Friday's starting lineup included two freshmen and two sophomores and many of UWM's young players will play key roles this season.
"At one point all of the freshmen were on the court," Johnson said. "They were really steady, there weren't a lot of nerves and I think people did a great job playing as a team."
The Panthers found their rhythm early in the first set and never looked back. UWM took the lead for good at 8-7 on a kill by Egerer and led 12-9 when Neuberger and Price combined for a block. The advantage grew to 20-13 on a kill by Dunbar and the Panthers were in control from there. Two-straight kills from Egerer made it 22-13 and Milwaukee closed out the frame on a kill by Kolinske.
Fairfield was able to turn things around late in the second set to even the match. Milwaukee recovered from a bit of a slow start to grab a 14-13 lead on a block by Kolinske and Nicole Latzig. The lead grew to 18-14 following back-to-back service aces by Golabowski, but the Stags controlled the set from there. Fairfield took the lead for good at 21-20 on a kill by Dixon and eventually led 24-21. A kill by Egerer kept Milwaukee alive momentarily but a UWM service error allowed Fairfield to wrap up the frame.
Milwaukee bounced back nicely to win the third set. The Panthers trailed in the early going but took the lead for good at 17-16 on a kill by Kolinske. It actually turned into a run from Kolinske, who had five kills in the burst that put the Panthers up 21-18. Another kill from Kolinske pushed the edge to 23-19 and then an ace from Bartz and a kill by Egerer put Milwaukee back ahead in the match.
The Panthers then wrapped up the match with a steady performance in the fourth set. UWM went ahead for good at 12-11 on a kill by Neuberger and then scored the next three points to make it 15-11. The lead grew to 21-14 on a kill by Kolinske and the Panthers were never really threatened after that. A kill by Dunbar pushed Milwaukee to the brink of victory at 24-18 and, after a brief Fairfield run, a Neuberger tip kill finished things off.
UWM plays two more matches in the Duke Invitational Saturday. The Panthers face William & Mary at noon EDT/11 a.m. CDT and the host Blue Devils at 7 p.m. EDT/6 p.m. CDT.