Surges Send Panthers Past Braves
Sept. 5, 2008
EAST PEORIA, Ill. - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee used strong efforts in sets one and four along with a stellar comeback in set three to claim a 25-16, 21-25, 27-25, 25-17 win over Bradley in the opening match of the Wingate by Wyndham Invitational Friday morning.
UWM, which limited Bradley to a .131 hitting percentage, also got 20 digs from Lauren Felsing and collected 10 total blocks.
Amy Reichel had 16 kills and Melissa Collins added 11 for the Braves (0-4).
The key to the match came in the third set, when UWM overcame a late six-point deficit and fought off three set-points to pull out the win.
"It was an incredible comeback in game three," head coach Susie Johnson said. "You could see on their faces we were very composed and believed we could do it. We did a good job of taking it one point at a time and just letting it happen."
UWM also got a wide variety of contributions in addition to the efforts of Peters, Sueppel and Felsing. Samantha Trawitzke came off the bench to collect 28 assists while Lauren Hintze had 10 digs. Sophomores Natalie Chery and Sarah Sliva along with freshmen Mary Beth O'Brien (three kills, two blocks) and Mackenzie Millis (two kills, three blocks) also saw time off the bench.
"Sam really did a great job coming off the bench to run the offense," Johnson said. "She spread the ball around and our other younger players continue to get chances and they are seeing they can do it. Maddie had some great approaches and was very good, Becky was very good, as well, and Lauren just stabilizes things for us on defense. She really keeps us on track no matter how things are going."
UWM overcame a sluggish start to claim a convincing win in the first set. It was Milwaukee's defense that turned the tide, with the Panthers holding the Braves to a -.100 hitting clip while collecting four blocks. Bradley led by as many as three points in the early going before the Panthers took the lead for good at 13-12 on a kill by Sueppel. That kill was actually part of a 10-0 run by Milwaukee, with a block from Sueppel and Kerri Schuh capping the burst while giving UWM a 20-12 advantage. The Panthers eventually led 24-13 on an ace by Schuh and closed out the set on a kill by O'Brien.
The Panthers couldn't overcome their slow start in the second set. The Braves bolted to a 9-4 lead and the Panthers would never truly recover. They did pull to within 9-7 on a Sueppel kill only to see Bradley push back out to a 19-12 advantage. UWM made one more surge, closing the gap to 19-17 on a block by Schuh and O'Brien. But, Bradley scored the next four points to put the set away.
Milwaukee again dug a big hole in the third set but somehow found its way back. Bradley built early leads of 9-2 and 12-4, led 20-14 fairly late in the frame and then had three-straight set points after claiming a 24-21 advantage. But, Milwaukee got kills from Peters and Schmitting as well as a block from Schmitting and Sliva to keep the game alive. Then, two kills by Chery plus another kill from Schmitting gave the Panthers an unlikely 2-1 lead in the match.
UWM led from start to finish in the fourth set. The Panthers scored six of the first eight points in the frame and eventually led 12-6 on an ace by Lauren Hintze. An ace by Peters kept the lead at 17-11 and then kills by Sueppel and Peters pushed the edge to 23-15. A Bradley error eventually finished out the set and match for the Panthers.
The tournament, which also features Eastern Michigan and SIU-Edwardsville, is being played at Illinois Central College due to construction on the Bradley campus. The Panthers return to action later Friday, squaring off with EMU in an 8 p.m. contest.