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Marshall Wins the Battle for the Golden Ball
“I can’t tell you how proud I am tonight with these young women,” coach Mitch Jacobs said. “Sacha (Byous-McConnell), Dorothy (Rahal), and Sammie (Bane) played very well tonight, but with that being said it was our freshmen, who had never played in such a rivalry match, came up huge.”
The Thundering Herd improved to 14-11 (7-2 Conference USA) on the season while the Mountaineers slipped to 16-8 (2-6 Big 12) on the year.
Freshmen outside hitters Elyse Panick (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and Cassie Weaver (Huntington) led the way offensively for Marshall, tallying 14 kills each and .400 hitting percentages. Senior libero Dorothy Rahal (Venice, Fla.) led the team with 14 digs while junior Sammie Bane (Brownstown, Ind.) collected 58 assists.
“Elyse (Panick) was fantastic from start to finish,” Jacobs said. “Kiko (Ally Kiekover) was total energy and attacked very efficiently for us, but it was Cassie (Weaver) who stepped in for an ailing Laura (Der) tonight and was just lights out.”
The Herd recorded a season-best .333 hitting efficiency and limited WVU to .273 hitting percentage. Each team tallied five total blocks while Marshall collected six service aces to the Mountaineers’ two.
West Virginia jumped out to a 4-1 lead to start the match before Marshall rallied three consecutive points to tie things at four apiece. The Herd then went on a 9-5 run to force WVU into a timeout, leading 13-9. The turning point of the set came out of that timeout, when Marshall earned four consecutive points to go up, 17-9. The Marshall squad closed the set out on a 9-8 run to win the first set, 25-16.
The second frame started out similarly as the Herd trailed 4-1 early-on before rallying to tie the set at seven apiece. The teams went back-and-fourth for a while and squared things at 18-all to force WVU into a timeout. The Mountaineers came out of the break with a 7-2 run to take the set, 25-20.
Marshall started slow once again in the third set and was forced into an early timeout down 5-2. The Herd was able to rally and knot things at 10 apiece and the teams traded the next few points. WVU called its first timeout of the set trailing 17-16 and was able to force Marshall into a timeout, leading 22-21. The Herd closed strong and took the remaining four points to win the set, 25-22.
The Mountaineers came out in the fourth set strong and looked focused to force a fifth set. WVU jumped out to a 4-1 advantage and took control for much of the set. Marshall called its first timeout, trailing 19-15, to attempt to rally its troops. The Herd came out and refused to lose the set and went on a 10-4 run to win the final set, 25-23.
The Herd will return home to continue conference play, Friday and Sunday, against UTEP and UTSA. Marshall is fourth in the C-USA standings with a 7-2 conference record.
“I am just so proud to represent and be a part of the wonderful Marshall community,” concluded Jacobs. “There is no greater color in the world than Kelly Green! Go Herd!”