Bouncing back was the theme for the young Hoosier squad this weekend. After receiving their first loss of the season Friday, they secured their fourth and fifth wins of the season Saturday.
The then-undefeated Hoosiers faced off against Western Michigan, the host school for the Discover Kalamazoo Classic, on Friday night. After dropping the first set, Indiana took set two handily. Kari Zumach sparked a 6-1 run in which a plethora of Hoosiers made big-time plays. Mady Saris scored the final two points of the set.
Set three, the young Hoosier squad jumped out to a 13-8 lead after a pair of attack errors from Western Michigan. The Broncos scored five unanswered and stormed back to steal the set 26-24.
Despite the swing in momentum, set four was all Hoosiers, tallying nine kills in the first 14 points. Haley Armstrong nailed two aces, forcing a fifth set with a 25-11 score in the fourth frame.
The Hoosiers led in nearly every statistic, topping the Broncos in kills, hitting percentage and blocks. However, it was the Broncos who came out on top in the fifth set, 15-11, giving the Hoosiers their first loss of the season.
Head coach Steve Aird congratulated Western Michigan, but focused on rallying his troops. Aird was successful in his mission, as Saturday was a different story.
Indiana smashed Purdue Fort Wayne in three short sets, while hitting above .300 on the attack. Saris paced the team with 13 kills offensively, while Kaley Rammelsberg had five rejections on the defensive end.
The Hoosiers’ final match of the Discover Kalamazoo Classic was another five-setter, this time against Southeast Missouri State. The Redhawks took the first set with clinical offense, coming off a 14-12 timeout to win the set. Indiana responded nicely as the attack found its rhythm as the second frame went on. The Hoosiers once again found themselves behind the eight-ball as they dropped the third set 25-14.
Indiana hopped out to a 12-7 lead in the fourth set and never let the Redhawks respond, forcing a fifth set for a second time this weekend.
This time the Hoosiers would not falter, as Breana Edwards carried the Hoosiers past the Redhawks 15-9 to secure the victory.
“I was really proud of the team’s ability to bounce back after a challenging game one against Western Michigan on Friday night,” Aird said. “We had a lot of young players compete who we had to lean on to find a way to win. We have plenty to work on and, as always, I am excited to get back in the lab on Monday.”
Aird also mentioned that he is still figuring out the kinks this early in the season after the loss Friday. The Hoosiers are up to 5-1 on the season and will travel to Atlanta next weekend for the Georgia Tech Classic. Mississippi State will be the Friday night bout, followed by Oklahoma and Georgia Tech on Saturday.