Valdosta, GA - Valdosta State moved to 14-12 overall and 4-5 in the Gulf South Conference with a 3-1 victory over Alabama-Huntsville Friday night, 27-25, 25-17, 19-25, 25-19. The Blazers used a balanced effort with four players notching eight kills or more in the match.
The tone was set from the first game when Valdosta State went into extra points to get the win. After going down, 2-0, though, Alabama-Huntsville fought back for a 25-19 win in the third set before the Blazers finished off the Chargers with a win in the fifth set by the same score.
In the first set of the match, the Blazers were down early, 6-1, and then, 11-6. Once the Chargers reached 12 points, however, Valdosta State stormed back. Ashley Lala hit a kill to steal service and start the run, trailing 12-7. Lala went on a run of six serves with five ending in Alabama-Huntsville errors before Katie Onushko struck a kill for a point to make it 14-12 in favor of VSU.
Alabama-Huntsville earned the lead once more at 16-15, but four UAH errors, two kills from Tania Tauiliili and a block from Tauiliili and Onushko put Valdosta State ahead 22-17. The Blazers never looked back in the first set.
Valdosta State fell behind in the second set as well, 4-1, but did not take long to fight back and win the set with ease. The third set proved much tougher.
The Blazers were down early in the set, 14-4, and eventually 20-11. Valdosta State was able to close the gap to six before the end of the set, but it would not be enough to sweep the Chargers.
Valdosta State dominated in the fourth set to ensure the victory. The Blazers went up by as much as 16-8 and 20-11 on their way to a match clinching victory.
Chelsea Logan led the team in kills with 16 while Onushko and Brittany Smith added 11. Tauiliili pitched in eight. Lala gave out 43 assists and doubled up with 20 digs. Krista Bradford led the team in digs with 21. Onushko and Macy Markham combined for 27 digs. Tauiliili led Valdosta State’s effort in blocks with seven block assists. Onushko had six and Destiny Berry finished with four to help Valdosta State gain a slight edge in blocking, 12.5 to 11.
Jessica Ruple led Alabama-Huntsville in kills with 13 while Kelly Wilson gave out 29 assists. Libero Kaeli McCaghren led the team in digs with 21 and Carrie Brown tallied two solo blocks and four block assists in the match.
The Blazers will try to make it a winning streak against West Alabama at 2 p.m. Saturday in The Complex. Valdosta State will also be honoring its seniors before the match.