PENSACOLA, Fla. — After picking up a win over No. 5 Western Washington earlier in the day, the No. 7 ranked Regis women's volleyball team (2-2) continued to roll as it took down No. 2 Southwest Minnesota State (1-2) 3-2 Saturday afternoon.
How it happened: Regis and SMSU put together a thoroughly entertaining opening set with some of the best side-to-side volleyball seen thus far in the West Florida Invitational. Both teams flashed their skills, but it was the Rangers who jumped out to a big lead, eventually taking the first set in convincing fashion 25-17. Junior Kelsey Green unloaded with five kills in the opening set, pacing the team to a .351 hitting percentage.
gameday 😈😈 pic.twitter.com/9lkjsZgcaf— Nicole Kennedy (@NikkiKennedy11) August 24, 2018
Set two was equally as entertaining, both teams increasing their level of play. RU rolled out four-straight points with the score tied at three to take a 7-3 advantage, forcing an early Mustang timeout. There were 14 ties in the set, and six lead changes, but with SMSU holding set point, Regis was unable to connect on a free-ball with miscommunication leading to a ball falling to the floor without an attack. The point gave the Mustangs the set and evened the set score at one apiece.
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SMSU took the energy from set two and carried it into set three where they scored the first five points to open the set. Head Coach Joel List was forced to call a timeout, trying to get his team to refocus and get back to how they played in the first set. Regis was never able to gather themselves, falling 25-14 in set three.
The fourth was highlighted by senior Kristen Hornung who exploded for seven kills. Neither team had more than a three-point advantage in the set, with the Rangers taking leads at 23-20 and 24-21 before the game was tied at 24-all. A service error and attack error from the Mustangs and gave RU the fourth set win, forcing a pivotal fifth set.
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Regis opened the fifth set quickly, taking a 5-2 lead through the first seven points, driving the SMSU coach to call a timeout. Right after the timeout, the Rangers pounced for two more points as Kennedy and junior Izzy Gosar combined for a block followed by a rip down the line from Kennedy. RU never looked back as they rolled to a 15-8 win in the final set.
In addition to being picked to finish 1st in the RMAC, our own Nikki Kennedy has been named Pre-season defensive and overall player of the year 🎉😎 #BigNik pic.twitter.com/H4HUkvTM6a— Regis University Volleyball (@RegisVolleyball) August 13, 2018
Game notes: The win marks the first time in program history that Regis (1-7) has beaten SMSU. Kennedy finished the match with a team-high 16 kills and four blocks. Burroway tallied 13 kills and added 16 digs. Green (12), Hornung (12), and Gosar (10) combined for 34 kills. Senior libero Kristina Schell had 25 digs with redshirt-senior Drew Rhamy and sophomore Sophie Griese each adding 11 apiece. Junior setter Silvia Basso had 55 assists in the match that saw the Rangers hit at a .255 clip. In sets four and five RU hit .302 and .435, respectively.
Up next for the Rangers: The No. 7 Regis volleyball team will travel back home to prepare for the Colorado Premier Tournament, which will be hosted by the Rangers and Metropolitan State University of Denver. The first home match for the volleyball team will be an 11 a.m. battle with Missouri Western State University followed by a 6 p.m. head-to-head tilt with Angelo State University in the Regis Fieldhouse.