Panthers Roll To Three-Set Win At UIC
Oct. 4, 2013
The Panthers (7-8, 3-0 Horizon) hit .301 for the match and were never really threatened after winning a hard-fought first set.
In fact, Milwaukee hit .355 in the final two frames and completely shut down the Flames (5-12, 0-2), who hit just .103 for the match. Ruiz and Taylor Golabowski had 11 digs apiece, while reigning league defensive player of the week Neuberger had a part in six of Milwaukee's seven blocks.
Sara Sternard had eight kills to lead UIC.
"I think our block improved and it really made a difference," Milwaukee head coach Susie Johnson said. "That was the goal from the beginning, but sometimes it just takes a while to get used to people and get used to different hitters. That really helped and I think that brought the confidence back for everything. It was a great match - very solid."
Milwaukee won a hard-fought first set by riding the lead much of the way. The Panthers jumped out to an early 9-6 lead after a three-point burst, highlighted by two Neuberger kills. Milwaukee still led 10-7 after another Neuberger kill before UIC turned the tables with a 7-1 burst, claiming a 14-11 advantage. UWM struck right back, scoring four in a row for a 15-14 advantage before taking the lead for good at 16-15 on a Ruiz kill. The Panthers eventually led by as many as four points before UIC fought back to forge a 22-all tie. Milwaukee had the final answer, though, with a kill from Latzig putting the Panthers back ahead for good before a kill from Kolinske ended the set.
The Panthers controlled the second set. UWM grabbed an 8-3 lead following a Neuberger kill and was still up 12-7 following a kill from Ruiz. UIC did counter with four in a row to pull within 12-11, but the Flames would never get the lead. Instead, Milwaukee scored the next four points to claim a 16-11 advantage and then went ahead 19-13 on another Ruiz kill. The lead hit 23-14 on an ace by Golabowski and then kills from Latzig and Blanchard finished things off.
The Panthers then finished off the match with a dominating performance in the third set. UWM jumped out to a 6-2 lead before UIC responded with five of the next six points to tie things at 7-apiece. The Flames had no answers after that, though, as a kill by Neuberger pushed the lead back to 12-9 and sparked an 8-0 run by Milwaukee. UWM had four blocks during the burst and went ahead 19-9 on a UIC error. The lead eventually grew to as many as 11 points before a kill from Kolinske provided the final point of the match.
"We just had a really balanced offense and it was awesome that Kayla was able to do that," Johnson said. "Then our defense was incredible, so we were really able to have a solid performance. It was not too stressful of a match - we just really stayed steady."
UWM wraps up its weekend road trip with a Saturday afternoon contest at Valparaiso. The match between the Panthers and Crusaders begins at 4 p.m.