UIndy cruises by Southern Indiana
Kerrigan collects a season-high 26 kills for the Greyhounds
HILLSDALE, Mich. -- Kristina Kerrigan had a season-high 26 kills hitting .537 and team-high 12 digs to lead Indianapolis past Southern Indiana 3-1 (22-25, 25-17, 25-21, 25-22), on Friday afternoon in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Greyhounds (23-7) advance to the semifinals to play Ferris State (27-3) on Saturday at 5 p.m.
"Kerrigan played great and really changed up her shots to take advantage of the openings she saw on the floor," head coach Jody Rogers said. "She's a pure leader that gets fired up and hates to lose and she wouldn't let us lose today."
First Team All-Region outside hitter Kristina Hefferan added 20 kills, 11 digs and match-high three aces against the sixth-seeded Screaming Eagles (20-11). Great Lakes Valley Conference Freshman of the Year Meghan Binkerd had 57 assists for the third-seeded Greyhounds as they hit .311 as a team with 62 kills. Julia Watkins led all players with five blocks, including two solo.
The Screaming Eagles hit .248 with 54 kills and were led by GLVC Player of the Year Danielle LaGrange with 21 kills and three blocks. Jorae Bradbury had 46 assists and Kayla Heldman led all players with 15 digs.
"We came out a little bit slow at the beginning with the time change of playing at noon, but give credit to USI for coming out strong," Rogers said. "We have to come out different tomorrow or we will go home early from this tournament."
The first set was back-and-forth until Southern Indiana broke a 6-6 tie with a 5-1 run to lead by four, 11-7. UIndy fought back to even the score, 13-13, after Courtney Anglemyer and Kourtney Crawford blocked LaGrange, but USI scored the next two points to stay in front. The Greyhounds were able to tie at 15, 16 and 17, but never regained the lead as USI pulled away to a 21-18 lead. A couple of errors narrowed the deficit to one, 21-20, but the Eagles put together another 3-0 run, 24-20, to gain enough distance to hold off UIndy, 25-22.
The Eagles had 16 kills and hit .379 in the set, while UIndy hit .310 with 13 kills, 12 by Hefferan and Kerrigan. UIndy was sloppy at the service line in the set with four errors.
UIndy jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second set, but USI quickly turned things around to go up two, 6-4. Still trailing by two, 9-7, UIndy went on a 10-2 run to take a six-point advantage, 17-11, after Crawford and Watkins blocked LaGrange. Southern Indiana closed within four, 20-16, but a Hefferan kill and Binkerd solo block put the Greyhounds back up six, 22-16. UIndy evened the match with back-to-back Kerrigan kills, 25-17.
The Hounds limited USI to .161 attacking in the second set with 12 kills, while the Greyhounds had 15 kills and hit .385. Kerrigan and Hefferan each had six kills to pace UIndy in the second set.
Southern Indiana tried to take control in the third set by going up four, 11-7, when Rogers signaled for a timeout. Kerrigan came right out with a kill to start a run of four kills in a row for her that spearheaded an 11-0 run by the Greyhounds. Anglemyer kept USI off-balance with her serves and Kerrigan totaled six kills in the run that put UIndy up seven, 18-11.
The Eagles wouldn't go away and closed their deficit to one, 21-20, but Hefferan pounded a kill and Anglemyer and Binkerd stuffed Lauren DeShaney to give UIndy a three-point lead, 23-20. After a point by USI, Anglemyer connected for two kills to end the set, 25-21.
The Greyhounds hit .268 with 16 kills, including 7-of-12 hitting by Kerrigan, while limiting USI to .135 attacking and 11 kills.
UIndy took the early lead in the fourth set and wouldn't give it up, but not without some drama. With the score knotted at nine, UIndy put together a 9-3 run to seemingly take control, 18-12, after a kill by Watkins. The Screaming Eagles answered with their 9-3 run to tie the set at 21. The teams traded kills to remain tied when UIndy used a kill from Hefferan, attack error by Emily Meyer and Anglemyer middle smash on match point, 25-22, to send USI home.
UIndy hit .308 in the final set with 18 kills, while Southern Indiana hit .344, but had just 15 kills.
The Greyhounds have advanced to the regional semifinal for the fifth year in a row and will be looking for their third consecutive regional final appearance in Saturday's 5 p.m. semifinal.