Indianapolis opens tournament play with 3-1 victory against Northwood
ALLENDALE, Mich. -- Despite having more than a week off between matches, the Indianapolis continued its recent tear, defeating Northwood 3-1 (25-16, 25-22, 13-25, 25-21) in the opening round of the NCAA Midwest Regional hosted by Grand Valley State.
It's the 11th win in a row for the Greyhounds, who haven't lost since Oct. 26 against Hillsdale. UIndy is also coming off its fourth GLVC championship in program history, where the Hounds defeated Truman State 3-1 in the finals.
The Greyhounds (25-9) picked up right where they left off in the opening set, cruising to a 25-16 win. UIndy hit a scorching .464, converting 16 kills on 28 swings with three errors.
Northwood (21-11) played a much closer second set, but UIndy never trailed after taking an early 2-1 lead. Through the first two sets, there were just eight ties and three lead changes. The Timberwolves' Juliia Pakhomenko, who came in ranked third in the nation with 4.60 kills per set, recorded nine kills.
Pakhomenko parlayed her strong performance into the next set, again tallying nine kills as the Timberwolves brought the match to 2-1 behind a 25-13 third set victory. The Greyhounds hit -.062 as a team, their first set hitting in the negatives since their fifth set in a loss at McKendree on Oct. 12.
"In the third set they really made a good push," said Jason Reed, who won his first NCAA tournament match as a head coach. "They served a lot tougher than we did, and we made a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes, but we put that one behind us and moved forward."
UIndy slammed the door shut on the Timberwolves in the fourth and decisive set, a close 25-21 game that saw 12 ties and five lead changes.
"The fourth set was just a battle," Reed said. "That's what we've been talking about the last few weeks, that it's going to be a grind from here on out, so be comfortable in those situations. Be fine with going back and forth with points, having big swing after big swing."
The box score looks like Reed's typical balanced offense, with four Greyhounds recording at least eight kills. Hailey Brown led the way with 14 kills and 15 digs, while Brittany Anglemyer had 10 kills on .333 hitting (10k-3e-21ta) and four total blocks. Kenzie Bruggeman had nine kills and 14 digs, and freshman Becca Lira tallied eight kills, hitting .353 (8-2-17). Julia Watkins had six kills and three block assists. Setter Meghan Binkerd finished with 46 assists and 11 digs. Kimberly Trojan led the Hounds with 17 digs, and Arielle Knafel had 13.
"At this point it's survive and advance, and we're happy to be advancing," Reed said.