Comeback victory gives Rangers first conference win
September 22, 2017
ADA – The Northwestern Oklahoma State women's volleyball team picked up their first conference win of the season Tuesday on the road over East Central University, 3-2 (25-22, 23-25, 20-25, 25-13, 15-11).
The Rangers (10-5, 1-1 GAC) responded after being down 2-to-1 early in the match and put together stellar fourth and fifth sets to bring home the victory. A season-high 73 kills, including 24 from junior Hannah Williams, allowed the Rangers to best the Tigers (4-10, 0-2 GAC) in a high-paced match.
The Rangers picked up a victory in the opening set thanks to three straight points at the 17-17 mark of the set thanks to kills from redshirt sophomore Kiauna Clark and junior Brooklynn Hesson. Northwestern then survived three straight points from the Tigers and pulled it out in the end with a 25-22 victory.
Clark finished the evening with 12 kills, 35 assists and 23 digs, while Hesson managed 10 kills of her own along with 12 digs.
The Tigers picked up momentum in the second set with six straight points at the 10-10 mark of the game. The Black and Red battled back thanks to four kills from Williams and a timely service ace from freshman Kaitlyn Robinson to force an East Central timeout with the home team narrowly hanging on at 21-20. A 4-3 run to finish out the set on top 25-23 evened the match up at 1-1.
Robinson produced one of the nine service aces for the Rangers squad, and also notched 25 assists and nine digs.
A difficult 25-20 defeat in the third game set the stage for the Ranger comeback as head coach Jeremy White rallied the troops heading into the final two sets. A big-time 18-8 start to begin the fourth set put that comeback plan into motion thanks to a heavy offensive attack from Williams and standout Jennifer Eubanks.
Eubanks, the Great American Conference's Player of the Week for her stellar play as of late, had 16 kills and three block assists to finish with 17.5 points for the Rangers.
Northwestern continued rolling and extended their lead to 22-12 on the heels of three straight kills from Williams and finished out the match-tying game with a 25-13 victory.
The fifth set began with a 3-2 lead in favor of the Rangers before four straight points gave coach White's squad a 7-2 advantage, forcing an East Central timeout. Coming out of the pause in action, the Tigers went on a 4-1 run to close the margin to 8-6. Kills from Williams and freshman Lauren Symington followed up by an error on the Tigers allowed Northwestern to keep the advantage at 11-8 moving into the second Tiger timeout of the set.
Hesson, Symington and Williams all put down kills to earn the final four points of the match, with Williams slamming home the first conference victory of the season for the surging Rangers.
The Northwestern volleyball team was tol return home to Percefull Fieldhouse on Thursday evening to face off with arch rival Southwestern Oklahoma State in a showcase of two of the top teams in the GAC.