Redbirds Fall to Cleveland State in Four
Sept. 9, 2005
Ann Arbor, Mich. - Savannah Knowles, Kari Staehlin and Laura Doornbos combined for 56 kills for Illinois State, but Cleveland State made more plays in the right places for a 30-28, 30-20, 24-30, 30-27, in the opening match of the 2005 Nike/Pepsi Invitational at Cliff Keen Arena.
The Redbirds, 3-2 saw an end to their three-match winning streak despite a 71-61 advantage in kills and a 63-58 edge in digs. Knowles and Doornbos led all players with 19, while Staehlin added 18. Ashley Grubb had 15 kills to lead ISU and Savannah Knowles added 13.
The Vikings, 4-2, were paced by Emily Clark with 15 kills. CSU had team edges in blocks (11-6) and service aces (10-5) while hitting .241 to ISU's .223. Cleveland State continued its strong play in recent days; they took No. 12 Ohio State to game five last weekend before dropping the match.
Laura Doornbos got three early kills to get the `Birds going in game one, but Cleveland State took a four-point lead at 26-22 and got to game point at 29-24. The Vikings had a lot of trouble handling Emily Kabbes' serves and ISU scored four unanswered points, but CSU hung on to win.
The Redbird passing and defense broke down in game two with CSU taking a 14-5 lead and were not threatened.
Knowles had six kills in game three and Kristin Dziubla came off the bench for three kills and three blocks to help shore-up the Redbird middle as Illinois State showed more energy from early in game three. Game four was a nip-and-tuck affair until the Vikings scored three unanswered points to pull from 23-22 to 26-22. Redbird coach Sharon Dingman didn't think her team had the finishing power it needed in game four.
"After that point (23-22), I don't think we got a kill the rest of the match," said Dingman, who thought the loss was the product of less-than-productive practice. "We played today like we practiced yesterday--we just didn't have the focus we needed. We have a good team and good players, but we can't expect to go out there and tune it up a notch. I thought we weren't very focused in the first two games."
But Dingman liked the way Dziubla played.
"Kristin has played like that in practice lately," said Dingman. "Nothing she does on the court surprises me."
The Redbirds continue their play in the tournament with a 4 p.m. match vs. Akron and finally with a 6:30 p.m. Sunday match against Michigan, which played the second match of the tournament against Akron on Friday morning.