Dec. 13, 2013
From American Athletic Communications
LINCOLN, Neb. - The American University volleyball team took the first set from defending National Champion No. 1 Texas, but couldn't complete the upset as it fell, 3-1, in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
Monika Smidova posted a double-double for the Eagles with 36 assists and 13 digs, also adding four blocks. Kristyna Lindovska registered a team-high 11 kills and Juliana Crum picked up 20 digs.
"Our whole team is really pretty special this year," said Head Coach Barry Goldberg. "There's nothing to be ashamed of. We couldn't keep up the level of making the kills...One more kill was all we needed, especially when we were down in the first game three or four. We came back there near the end. I'm proud of our first game effort, for sure. They just raised their level."
American (34-3) notched the first three points of the match but the Longhorns answered to tie it up at 5-all on a kill by Bailey Webster. The Eagles took a 9-5 advantage on a 4-0 run, forcing a Texas timeout, but the Longhorns rallied with five straight points to cut American's lead to 13-12. Texas took its first lead of the set, 20-18, on a 6-0 run but an attack error by Khat Bell sparked a 6-1 run for the Eagles as it went up 24-22 on a kill by Crum. The Longhorns knotted it up at 24-all but a service error by Haley Eckerman and an attack error by Texas secured the 26-24 set one win for American.
Texas (26-2) took an 8-2 lead in the second set but a kill by Crum cut its advantage to five, 10-5. The Longhorns answered for the 15-8 lead on a kill by Chiaka Ogbogu but Lindovska picked up the kill for the Eagles and Megan Rosburg had an ace to put the Texas lead back at five, 15-10. The Longhorns responded with a 6-0 run for the 21-10 lead and were able to close out the set with three straight tallies for the 25-14 win to knot the match up at 1-all.
American took a 3-0 lead to open the third set but Texas battled back to tie it at 4-all. The teams traded points but the Longhorns took a 10-6 advantage with four straight tallies. Kelly McCaddin ended the run out of an Eagles' timeout but Texas answered with an 11-3 streak for the 20-11 lead. American posted three straight points to put the score at 23-16 but after a Longhorns' timeout Texas posted back-to-back tallies for the 25-16 win and 2-1 match advantage.
The Longhorns went up 7-2 in the fourth set but the Eagles rallied to make it a two-point match on back-to-back kills from Bree Scarbrough and Lindovska. A McCaddin kill cut the Texas lead to one, 13-12, but after a Longhorns' timeout Texas notched consecutive kills and took a 20-15 advantage on a block by Eckerman. Sarah Katz answered for American and a kill by Lindovska and block by McCaddin and Smidova cut the Longhorns' lead to 24-20. But a kill by Bell was able to give Texas the 25-20 victory and 3-1 match win.
Webster led the Longhorns with 18 kills as four players reached double-figure kills. Hannah Allison had a double-double with 54 assists and 12 digs and Sarah Palmer led the defensive effort with 25 digs. Bell finished with a team-high seven blocks and 16 kills. Texas outhit the Eagles .324 to .138 for the match.
American concludes its season matching the program record and setting the Patriot League mark for wins with 34 after advancing to its first Sweet 16 and posting its and the League's first NCAA Tournament victories in history.