Panthers Pull Out Five-Game Thriller
Oct. 19, 2007
MILWAUKEE - Jamie Gabrielsen had 23 kills and Leanne Felsing added 19 as part of another triple-double as the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee took over sole possession of first place in the Horizon League with a thrilling 30-21, 28-30, 30-27, 26-30, 15-13 win over Cleveland State Friday night at the Klotsche Center.
Natalie Schmitting tallied the match-winning kill for the Panthers (20-2, 10-1) after the Vikings (16-6, 9-2) had fought off three match points to close to within 14-13 in the deciding fifth frame.
Amy Benz had 20 kills and Beth Greulich 15 for Cleveland State, which had knocked off Milwaukee in Cleveland earlier this season.
In the deciding fifth game, UWM took the lead for good at 8-7 on a CSU error and extended the edge to 11-7 on another Viking error. After Cleveland State pulled back to within 11-10, kills by Schmitting and Kelley Olson sandwiched around a service ace by Felsing pushed the edge to 14-10. The Vikings scored the next three points to stay alive, but Schmitting's kill down the right side sealed the win.
The win moves UWM one full match ahead of Cleveland State in the league standings, a big step in Milwaukee's quest for a fifth-straight Horizon League regular season title. But, with five matches still to play, and four of them on the road, UWM coach Susie Johnson knows there's still a long way to go.
"I feel like it is still very much match-to-match for us. We can't get ahead of ourselves," Johnson said. "We have to stay focused and not have letdowns, and I think we will. But, the fact that we beat Cleveland State after losing to them the first time around is certainly very big."
Gabrielsen added 15 digs to go with her match-best 23 kills while Felsing had 23 digs and 30 assists along with 19 kills for her 13th triple-double of the season. Maddie Sueppel, who missed most of the first meeting with Cleveland State because of an injury, added 14 kills and five blocks.
UWM dominated the first game, breaking an 11-all tie with a 9-4 run. The Panthers quickly extending the edge to 25-17 and were never threatened. In game two, Cleveland State scored 13 of the first 18 points of the frame and never did give the lead back despite being challenged late. In fact, UWM got as close as 29-28 but a kill by Jenni Ramminger evened the match at a game apiece.
The Panthers pulled out a tight third game, recovering from a 26-23 deficit to claim the win. UWM scored six-straight points late, with two blocks helping to spark the run. Two kills by Felsing pushed the Panthers to game point before UWM got the final point on a CSU service error.
Cleveland State responded nicely in game four, scoring eight of the first 10 points. UWM did fight back to tie the game at 13 but never did take the lead. The Panthers were still within 28-26 after a CSU error but kills by Alexis Korovich and Benz extended the match to a fifth game.
Then, in that fifth game, UWM never trailed by more than a point before securing the win with its 4-0 and 3-0 runs.
"I think there were times tonight where we were playing not to lose," Johnson said. "You could see, at times, people were questioning themselves because Cleveland State was making it hard. But, a lot of different people dug down deep and really turned it around. I thought we kept fighting hard and we started to play to win in that fifth game."
The service line nearly did in the Panthers, with UWM committing 11 errors to just two aces while the Vikings had 11 aces and 11 errors. CSU was able to control stretches of the middle three games of the match with its strong serve, but Milwaukee was able to overcome that late in the match.
"I think when you serve aggressively, you are confident and you show you are playing to win," Johnson said. "I think Cleveland State was doing that and sometimes we were serving easy and playing not to lose. When they are in system, they are a very, very good team, and we were making it easy for them to be in system."
UWM plays its final regular-season home game tomorrow, hosting Youngstown State in a 4 p.m. match at the Klotsche Center.