TAMPA, Fla. – Eastern Kentucky University upset the University of South Florida, a member of the Big East Conference, 3-1 today at the South Florida Invitational. The Colonels (2-4) began the day with a tough 3-2 loss to Bowling Green State.
Against USF (0-3), Eastern jumped out in front and then held off a rally by the Bulls. EKU won the first set 25-22 and the second set 25-19. South Florida picked up the third set 25-17 to get back into the match.
The Bulls led for much of the fourth set and appeared to be on their way to tying the match. However, the Colonels never let the hosts pull away. A kill by Gomez Rodriguez put USF on top 23-21 before EKU capitalized on three straight errors to reach match-point, 24-23. South Florida then took advantage of two straight Eastern errors to reach set-point at 25-24. A kill by Hannah Burkle kept the set going for EKU. Moments later a kill by Robyn Hench gave the Colonels match-point again, 27-26. This time Ashley Edmond and Burkle came up with a huge block to win the set, 28-26, and the match 3-1.
Kelsey Kuehner led Eastern Kentucky with a match-best 19 kills. She posted a .351 attack percentage. Edmond finished with 11 kills and three block assists. Burkle had seven kills and four total blocks. Abbey Cvelbar contributed 39 assists and a .364 attack percentage form the setter position.
The Bulls struggled with their serve, finishing with 12 errors and only two aces.
Despite posting a .342 attack percentage in the first set against Bowling Green, the Colonels lost 25-23 to fall behind 1-0. However, EKU rebounded to win the next two sets to take a 2-1 lead. Eastern won the second set 25-21 before edging the Falcons 25-23 in the third.
In the first three sets combined, sophomore Edmond had 21 kills and only five errors. She finished with a career-best 24 kills, but had only three in the final two sets to go along with eight errors.
BGSU cruised to a 25-18 win in the fourth set to even the match and then squeaked out a 15-12 win in the fifth set to take the match.
In addition to her match-best 24 kills, Edmond had nine digs and two block assists. Burkle added 14 kills and three blocks assists. Cvelbar posted a match-high 40 assists.
Bowling Green won the match due in large part to a 14-5 edge in blocks.
The Colonels will continue play in the South Florida Invitational on Saturday against Behtune-Cookman at 5 p.m.