University of Southern Indiana Volleyball earned its first GLVC tournament victory since 2010 via a common theme of its season, a sweep, beating sixth-seeded Lindenwood in three closely contested sets.
The Screaming Eagles and Lions were neck-and-neck throughout each set and recorded 16 ties and four lead changes total in the three-set match. The Eagles utilized two major categories to gain the advantage throughout the contest, aces and blocks. USI posted seven service aces while Lindenwood recorded zero and, at the net, USI recorded 18 blocks versus the Lions 12. The Eagles' across-the-board contributions from the regular season carried into the GLVC championship with seven players blasting at least one kill, six adding an ace, six players recording two-plus digs, and six thwarting at least one opposing attack. The first set of the match and the entire tournament proved to be the most difficult for the Eagles, taking a late push with USI winning the last five points and nine of the final 10 points to nab the set. Set two proved to be an equally difficult fight but USI prevailed and did not trail after it tied the match a nine points each. The third and eventual final set of the match featured the Screaming Eagles taking hold early in the set and never trailing enroute to victory.
On offense, USI's All-Conference sophomores Leah Anderson and Katherine Koch led the charge with Anderson bombarding the Lions with 13 kills on a .258 hitting percentage with an ace and Koch recording 10 more kills on an attack percentage of .348, adding an ace and three assists. The contest marks the sophomores' fifth-straight match with double-digit kills and points each. Just behind the sophomore duo was freshman Abby Weber with eight kills, adding her sixth match with 10-plus points in seven contests. The floor general Casey Cepicky went right into her role to set the tone, dishing out 31 assists to fuel the offense of the Eagles. Overall, USI assisted on 36 of 38 kills in the three-set victory.
The USI defense proved to be a true fortification once again, especially at the net, with Sidney Hegg and Taylor Litteken both recording five blocks. Anderson chipped in another three blocks while Koch, Weber, and Cepicky each thwarted two opposing attacks. Callie Gubera and Katherine Koch both scooped-up nine attacks while Anderson and Cepicky were narrowly behind with eight and seven digs a piece.
With the victory, the 21st-ranked Eagles improved to 2-0 against the Lindenwood Lions on the season and 15-4 overall. USI, after dropping two-straight matches on March 20, has now won five-straight contests.
USI lengthens its winning streak to five games with the first round win over Lindenwood. The Eagles' streak dates back to their final home match of the season against McKendree on March 26, which USI won 3-1 over the Bearcats.
The Eagles have won eight matches this season via a sweep. USI, following its first match of the year against then-No. 14 Lewis (a loss in five sets), won five-straight matches without losing a set. The Eagles also beat Southwest Baptist, UIndy, and now Lindenwood in straight-sets.
The sophomore duo of Leah Anderson and Katherine Koch recorded their fifth-straight match with 10-plus kills and at least 10.0 points each.
Senior setter Casey Cepicky dished out 30-plus assists for the 15th time on the season. She now owns 2,914 assists in her USI career which ranks fourth all-time in USI history.