Nov. 21, 2008

Nov. 21, 2008 – Truman volleyball picked up win No. 30 on the season in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Friday, as the second-seeded Bulldogs opened the South Central Regional with a 3-0 (-19, -22, -18) win against Nebraska-Omaha. Senior Eli Medina picked up her 45th career double-double with a team-high 10 kills and 15 digs.


Truman (30-7) reached the 30-win mark for the ninth time in program history with the sweep, despite just hitting .138 offensively for the match. The Bulldogs will face long-time rival Central Missouri (29-9) in the regional semifinals Saturday after the Jennies upset third-seeded Washburn 3-0 in the tournament’s opening match.


Medina opened the first set with five kills to help Truman gain an early advantage on the upset-minded Mavericks. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 7-6 lead and never relinquished it in the opening frame, guided by a balanced attack that saw six different ’Dogs record kills.


Truman looked to have the second set in control as well, leading by as many as four in the early going, but UNO mounted a mid-set rally to cut the Truman lead to 18-17. A Medina kill before three UNO errors helped Truman boost the advantage to four at 22-18, before the Bulldogs held on for a 25-22 win and a 2-0 match lead.


After playing to a 5-5 draw at the outset of the third set, Truman hit the accelerator, picking up nine of the next ten points to push the margin to 14-6. UNO pulled to within three at 16-13, but Truman got back-to-back UNO hitting errors and a Lauren Graybeal kill to regain some breathing room at 19-13. The Mavs (16-16) never crept within four the rest of the way, as Truman advanced to the NCAA second round for the fifth consecutive year.


Medina’s 10 kills paced the squad, while senior Dana Hanselmann added eight. Medina was one of three ’Dogs with double-figure digs, as Truman was led by senior Whitney Boehler’s match-high 18, and Medina and Hanselmann’s 15 apiece. Freshman Kylie Easlon led the Bulldogs with 15 assists in her postseason debut, while sophomore Ashley Petak tacked on 13.


The Bulldog defense kept UNO’s Ellen Thommes in check during the match, as the second-team all-MIAA middle blocker hit just .136 and put down six kills. Thommes had torched the ’Dogs twice in 2008, having recorded 39 kills and a .418 hitting percentage. For the match, the Mavs hit just .038, including a -.021 mark in the final set.