HARRISONBURG, Va., Sept. 11, 2012 – Senior outside hitter Danielle Erb (Tampa, Fla./Plant) and sophomore middle blocker Lizzy Briones (Siloam Springs, Ark./Siloam Springs) combined for 25 kills with just two errors to lead the James Madison volleyball team to a 3-0 win over Radford at Sinclair Gymnasium/Godwin Hall on Tuesday night.
JMU won by set scores of 25-15, 25-18, 25-16 to win its 15th straight in the series against RU and its fourth-straight match this season to improve to 5-5 overall. Radford dropped to 6-6 on the season.
“I thought we played pretty well,” Head Volleyball Coach Lauren Steinbrecher said. “I thought our serving was very good. We came out and served them really tough and our team defense was exceptional. We were in the right spots and made a lot of great defensive plays.”
Briones lead the team with 13 kills against one error on 23 attempts for a .522 attack percentage. She added five digs, two service aces and a block. Erb had 12 kills on .314 hitting. She finished with a double-double with 16 digs, two blocks, two aces and two assists.
Freshman outside hitter Meghan Niski (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) contributed eight kills and 18 digs. The 18 digs were the most by a Duke this season and a career-high for the rookie. Fellow first-year player outside hitter MacKenzie Kleespies (Lincoln University, Pa./Avon Grove) contributed 13 digs while junior libero Katie Daorai (Tampa, Fla./Plant) had 16 digs, one assist and a service ace. Junior setter Megan Wiechmann (Sunland, Calif./Village Christian) paced the team to a .238 attack percentage with 32 assists, eight digs, two kills and a block.
Radford was paced by outside hitter Yacine Meyer with seven kills, but had nine errors for a -.061 hitting percentage. She also led the team with 16 digs, one ace and an assist. Middle blocker Rachel Fertitta had six kills on .278 hitting, three digs and two blocks. Setter Christine Beckham finished with a double-double, handing out 14 assists and digging up 13 attacks. Libero Katelyn Meeks finished with 14 digs and two assists.
The Dukes outhit the Highlanders .238 to .037 and had a 76-68 advantage in digs and a 6-3 lead in aces. Radford won the blocking battle with Madison, 5-4.
JMU came out firing in set one, building a 9-4 lead and forcing RU to use its first timeout. The Highlanders trimmed the lead down to two at 11-9, but Madison responded with a 7-1 advantage to separate from its opponent. Erb picked up two kills in the run to fuel the offense. Radford never responded to the Dukes’ run and eventually senior outside hitter Natalie Abel (Washington, Pa./Trinity) finished off the set with her second kill of the set.
The teams play things tight early in set two as JMU slowly built an 11-8 advantage. A 6-0 Dukes scoring run extended the advantage to 17-8. RU chipped into the lead and got it down as little as six at 23-17, but ran out of time to get back into the set, losing 25-18.
The Dukes jumped all over the Highlanders in set three, taking an 11-2 lead to force Radford to burn a timeout. RU responded to the stoppage, winning eight of the next nine points to cut the deficit to 12-10. After a Madison substitution, Madison went on to close the set on a 13-6 run to finish out the match.
JMU returns to play this weekend as it travels to Tampa, Fla., to play in the USF Volleyball Invitational.
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