NCAA Volleyball Tournament Recap
The Eagles defeated Kentucky 3-0 but fell to Ohio State in the following round
AU volleyball steamrolled past the University of Kentucky on Friday, Dec. 4 in the first round of the NCAA tournament, but the team’s hot streak, and season, came to an end just over 24 hours later. Following their dominant win over the Wildcats, the Eagles fell 3-0 to No. 12 Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
"We played a really good team tonight, and I'm proud of our team for hanging in there," AU head coach Barry Goldberg said to AUEagles.com. "Ohio State grew in confidence after getting through that first game and put us on our heels in game two.”
Against Kentucky the day before, the Eagles earned a three-game sweep, but struggled to find their footing initially. They dropped early points before rallying back to take the first set 26-24. Small mistakes hindered AU throughout the match, with defensive issues perforating an otherwise stellar performance.
The second set showed a different side of the Patriot League champions as the Eagles raced to a 5-1 lead quickly. Kentucky started to climb within striking distance, and after the match’s first and only missed serve from AU freshman outside hitter Aleksandra Kazala, the Wildcats went on a run. Kentucky brought themselves within four points, 18-14, but the Wildcats never reduced the lead any further before AU closed out the second set 25-17.
In the final set, the Eagles flew to a 10-6 lead, but once again, Kentucky responded and tied the set, 12-12. AU’s defensive weakness showed, as players missed blocks, but point-scoring consistency from the Eagles helped the team finish out with a win in the third set. After being stuck at 23-20, the Eagles pulled out the final two points while allowing one in return, closing the set 25-21 and the match 3-0.
The following day, Ohio State capitalized on the same defensive holes that had plagued AU the day before to end the Eagles’ tournament run. Despite the loss, Goldberg told AUeagles.com, “I'm proud of our team. I thought it was a great season, especially with our win last night. I love our team."