Volleyball ends trend, beats Herd
Mountaineers end nine-game losing streak to Marshall
Published: Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 00:09
The "Let's Go Mountaineers" chant resonated throughout the WVU Coliseum, louder than it has all season, as the West Virginia volleyball team ended a nine-year skid against in-state rival Marshall.
The Mountaineers (8-3) took back the Golden Ball Trophy, which has been in Huntington, W.Va., since 2001. WVU handed the Thundering Herd (4-5) its first lost in three games in front of about 600 fans, as the Mountaineers swept the sets 26-24, 25-21 and 25-23.
Bonnie West, the Mountaineers' senior captain and libero, was thrilled to beat Marshall in her final attempt.
"We had a big audience," West said. "It's my senior year, and we beat Marshall. I really couldn't ask for more."
Though the sets were all close, the Mountaineers came through when it mattered. WVU pulled away in a crucial second set, as it had a blistering .429 hitting average. The Mountaineers never trailed in the final set after jumping out to an early 5-2 lead.
In her first match against rival Marshall, coach Jill Kramer called it the biggest win for her team, yet.
"This has got to be the biggest because there was a lot behind it," Kramer said.
In the first set, neither team gave an inch as the teams exchanged ties and slim leads no greater than two points. After trailing 18-16, the Mountaineers went on a quick 3-0 run to take the lead. They would end the set on a Michelle Kopecky kill and a block by senior Abby Norman and junior Serinna Russo. Kopecky finished the set with seven kills and one block.
West was fueled by the fans, as she moved closer to breaking Michelle Domas' 19-year record in digs. West finished the match with 15 digs, which gives her 1,603 for her career – 27 shy of Domas' record.
"The crowd was overpowering. In tight situations when we were starting to lose our edge, the crowd got us back in and we regained our focus," West said.
After a WVU timeout during the second set, a service error by Marshall's Laura Der sparked the Mountaineers on a 3-0 run, which tied the score at 13.
Kopecky finished her evening with 12 kills and seven digs.
Following a tie at 13, the teams continued to battle it out as they exchanged one-point leads. With the score tied at 20, the Mountaineers went on a 5-1 run to end the set. Again, the set was capped off by a team block, only this time it was by Norman and junior outside hitter Kylie Armbruster.
Kari Post recorded a double-double with 36 assists and 11 digs.
Kramer was excited about the turnout and environment at the Coliseum.
"I do think we're going in the right direction," Kramer said. "We've got the video board going on and a lot music going on, and I really like the atmosphere."
As the team looks for more support and publicity, it has created a new WVU volleyball fan club page on Facebook.