(Photo Courtesy of Anthony Mazur)
IRVING, Texas – The University of Dallas volleyball team responded after a 25-19 setback in the first set to rattle off three consecutive set wins and earn a 3-1 victory over Randall University at the Maher Center on Thursday night. The Crusaders narrowly edged Randall in the second frame 25-23, and used that momentum to take the next pair of sets 25-16 and 25-19.
In the opening set both teams competed back and forth. Dallas gained an early lead with back-to-back kills from Rylee Davis (Lampasas, Texas) and then a kill by Diana Hassink (Tulsa, Okla.) to open its largest lead of the set 9-5. The Saints answered back to gain momentum. After a ball handling error by Lynsey Moniz allowed UD within a point, 14-13, the guests scored 11 of the next 17 points.
The teams battled in the next set back-and-forth with 12 ties altogether. There were only three lead changes, as the Crusaders did just enough to maintain being in front throughout most of the set. The final deadlock this set was 17-all. Randall made a service error and ball handling error to give the home team the lead for good. The next three points for the Crusaders were kills by Hassink and Samantha Garza (Richmond, Texas). Garza then took the next serve and put down an ace to make it a three-point advantage (22-19). After trading points, the Saints got two straight kills forcing a UD timeout. The Crusaders secured the 1-1 score after Davis and Sarah Hughes (Fair Oaks, Calif.) recorded thunderous kills. Stephanie Janysek (Sinton, Texas) came up with three of her five assists on the night during Dallas' last trio of kills.
The Crusaders energy remained up and a thunderous crowd enjoyed the watching them improve to 7-13 overall and 6-7 in non-conference play after claiming the next pair of set wins.
In the third set, there were seven ties and five lead changes, but a 5-0 run started by Hassink propelled Dallas ahead 13-9. Hughes notched her lone service ace of the night to put the team up for good that frame. The gap widened to as many as seven on a couple occasions, as the Crusaders went ahead 2-1 overall.
The last frame saw UD down 2-0, but then five straight points nipped that early deficit. Dallas led in the early stages and a kill by Garza made it 14-10, before the Saints responded with four in a row. With the score 16-16, the Crusaders erupted for eight straight points en route to the triumph.
A trio of Dallas players notched 10 kills, which included two of the players with season-bests. Hughes and Hassink were those two players and also claimed double-doubles with 19 and 16 digs, respectively. Hassink becomes just the fifth player in the program to eclipse 1,500 career digs (1,504). Davis was the other UD player in double figures for kills, as the freshman reached at least that many for the third time this fall. Davis also knocked down the lone blocks for her team with both being solo hits.
Elizabeth Smith (Broken Arrow, Okla.) and Skyler Doty (Mesquite, Texas) contributed season-highs this match and led the team in respective categories assists (33) and digs (24). Smith was a third player to have a double-double, as she added a career-high 20 digs. The Crusaders as a whole posted a season-high 107 digs, while Randall hit exactly triple-digits with 100. The guests outdid UD in kills by one, 48-47.
The Saints, who moved to 12-9 on the season, were led by Kristen Macey and Tera Misuraca with a pair of double-doubles in kills and digs. Macey posted a game-high 18 kills and had 21 digs, while Misuraca picked up a game-high 25 digs and chipped in 11 kills.
Dallas gets about an entire week off before traveling to Colorado Springs, Colorado, for its second Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Divisional. The Crusaders play host Colorado College on October 13th at 6 p.m. (MST). The next day features games with Centenary College and Austin College.