Special to HNN Provided by Herd Zone
HUNTINGTON, W.Va.-- Marshall opened its 2014 season falling in a tough 3-2 decision to Eastern Michigan to begin the Thunder Invitational.

The Herd powered out to take a  2-0 advantage, winning set one 27-25 and set two 31-29 before falling in straight sets to the Eagles by scores of 25-17, 25-14, and 15-9.

“Give a hand to Eastern Michigan-never quitting on a ball or a play through five sets,” head coach Mitch Jacobs said. “It is never embarrassing to lose to a quality opponent, and especially one that is well coached, but to be outhustled on the level that we were is embarrassing. But when you're as young as we are, sometimes you have to have your pride challenged to realized how hard you have to play to be successful."

In the first set, Marshall battled an intense final two points, with sophomore outside hitter Cassie Weaver (Huntington, W.Va.) slamming the final kill to give the Herd the early lead. Weaver recorded six kills in the first set, and ended the match with 12 kills and 12 digs.

The Herd rallied again in the second game, with sophomore middle blocker Ally Kiekover (Grand Rapids, Mich.) hammering five kills and recording a .318 hitting efficiency to secure Marshall’s second point.

The Eagles regrouped after intermission, taking a 10 point lead at one point during the set. Marshall went on a rally to come within five, but ended up falling in the third set 25-17. Kiekover and Weaver continued to lead the Herd, each recording two kills in the contest.


Marshall fell in the fourth set 25-14, and lost in the deciding game 15-9.

Junior Jillian Shemanski (Jupiter, Fla.) worked the highest hitting efficiency, going .364 on the day. The middle blocker also recorded two solo blocks and assisted in five more during the match. Shemanski collected five kills during her performance.

Kiekover hit .263, leading the Herd with 14 kills. Sophomore Elyse Panick (Chicago, Ill.) collected 18 digs along with 12 kills and three block assists in her 2014 debut.

“We need to look at the things we did well and improve on those,” Jacobs continued. “I thought we played some really good floor defense through the first two sets, so we need that to be extended. We ran some quality offense and we had our openings, but committed way too many unforced errors.”

The Herd ended the match recording 51 kills and 12 total blocks.

On the EMU front, senior Jill Briner led the squad with a .400 hitting efficiency, while Stacy Perinar collected 18 kills, 16 digs, and two solo blocks to help boost the Eagles to a win.

Eastern Michigan turned In 55 kills on the day with nine total blocks.

“Tomorrow is another day and this is a long season,” Jacobs finished.

Marshall will face UIC at 11 a.m. in the first Saturday session and Virginia at 7 p.m. to conclude the Thunder Invitational. ​