ATLANTA, Ga., Oct. 19, 2012 – Redshirt senior outside hitter Natalie Abel (Washington, Pa./ Trinity) collected a double-double with a match-high 14 kills and 14 digs to lead the James Madison volleyball team to a 3-0 win over Georgia State at the GSU Sports Arena in Atlanta, Ga., Friday evening.
JMU won by set scores of 28-26, 25-23, 25-19 to sweep the season series against GSU and improve to 11-11 on the season and 4-3 in the Colonial Athletic Association. Georgia State fell to 3-16 overall and 1-6 in the league.
Abel led three Madison players in double-digit kills as she hit .324 for the match with just three errors in 34 attempts. The fifth-year senior added a service ace, a block and an assist on the night. Freshman middle blocker MacKenzie Kleespies (Lincoln University, Pa./Avon Grove) set a career-high with 12 kills on .370 hitting, adding seven digs and a block while freshman outside hitter Meghan Niski (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) had a double-double with 13 kills and 11 digs.
Junior libero Katie Daorai (Tampa, Fla./Plant) led the team with 23 digs and two service aces. Sophomore middle blocker Lizzy Briones (Siloam Springs, Ark./Siloam Springs) contributed a team-high two blocks. Freshman setter Sarah Patterson (Roanoke, Va./Hidden Valley) and senior setter Megan Wiechmann (Sunland, Calif./Village Christian) paced JMU to a .211 attack percentage, handing out a combined 45 assists. Patterson had 27 assists and a match-high three service aces while Wiechmann had 18 assists and five digs.
The Panthers were led by outside hitter Jamiee Freeman with a double-double. She had 12 kills, 15 digs and four blocks for 14.5 points. Middle blocker Eliza Zachary hit .400 with nine kills in 20 attempts, adding two digs and a block while outside hitter Dede Bohannon had eight kills and three digs. Setter Natalia Nieto handed out 36 assists and had 11 digs. Libero Emily Averbeck led all players with 24 digs.
JMU outhit GSU .211 to .198 and had 6-3 advantage in service aces. The Panthers collected four blocks to three for JMU while holding a slight, 75-73, edge in digs.
Georgia State won back-to-back points late in set one to obtain the match’s first set point at 24-23. The Dukes rallied by getting a Panther service error and forcing an attack error to get their first set point at 25-24. The match was tied two more times before a kill by Kleespies and an attack error by Nieto gave Madison a 1-0 lead in the match.
Set two was another tight affair, featuring a number of runs from each team. Consecutive kills from Niski and sophomore outside hitter Martha Stewart (Naperville, Ill./Waubonsie Valley) put Madison in control at 24-22 and forced a timeout by Panther coach Tami Audia. GSU won the first point out of the timeout, but Niski’s fifth kill of the set sent the Dukes into the break in front, 2-0.
The Panthers came out hot in set three, building leads of 7-2 and 11-7, but Patterson served Madison to a five-point run to pull ahead 12-11. The teams traded the lead twice more in the set before JMU closed on an 8-2 run, including kills from four different players to finish off the sweep.
The Dukes return to action on Friday, Oct. 26 as they travel to Williamsburg, Va., for a meeting with William & Mary.
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