Sept. 15, 2007
The American University volleyball team extended their home match winning streak to 21 early Saturday morning, defeating the visiting Harvard Crimson, 3-1. With the win, the Eagles move to 3-0 on the weekend and secure their spot in the American Volleyball Tournament championship round.
American received solid play from several of their usual suspects in the win. Rubena Sukaj (Tirana, Albania/Asim Vokshi) led the Eagles offense with 20 kills and six service aces and Christina Nash (Princeton, Fla./Coral Reef) assisted on 47 Eagle attacks and dug 11 balls. Angelina Waterman (Queens, N.Y./Archbishop Molloy) gave AU an added boost and played arguably her best game of the season. The freshman tallied 13 kills, a .321 hitting percentage and was credited with four block assists.
Harvard defeated AU in the match's opening frame, 30-25. The Crimson's victory was keyed by strong defensive play in the back row and persistent blockers up front. "They really played well defensively in the first game," AU Head Coach Barry Goldberg said. "Their back row made a few very good digs on our attacks and their blockers slowed our attempts."
Persistence paid off for the Eagles in game two as AU's hitting percentage increased more than 40 percent and their defense kicked in, holding the Crimson to a .000 hitting percentage. "In game two we started to pass a little better and our blocking started," Goldberg said. Claire Recht (Canby, Ore./La Salle) put back three Harvard attacks and Waterman stopped two, as AU allowed only 10 kills on 36 attempts.
The match's turning point seemed to come in the third game as both teams battled for momentum. "Our passing really improved during the third game and our offense started to roll," Nash said. With the game tied at 18, Waterman began a 9-1 run for AU that would indefinitely take the lead. American hit a match high .326 percent in the third frame with 19 kills. Ivana Cebakova
and Julia Borecka
each served two aces and Sukaj had five kills and two blocks, pushing AU to victory.
In the match's final game American continued their hot offensive streak with 17 kills. Sukaj hit a game high seven kills and both Waterman and Ann Recht (Canby, Ore./La Salle) added three. AU held a lead the entire period and did not allow Harvard to create a significant scoring rally, holding the Crimson to a .027 hitting percentage.
The Eagles return to action later in the day, taking on the University of Pennsylvania in the American Volleyball Tournament Championship, at 4 p.m.
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