Maline Vaitai finished with 22 kills on the day.

Aug. 31, 2012

UMES vs. Southern Utah Box Score | UMES vs. New Mexico Box Score

SAVANNAH, Ga. - UMES stopped a Southern Utah comeback attempt in its first match of the day to win 3-2 (25-14, 25-14, 23-25, 21-25, 15-7), finishing with its first defeat of the year to New Mexico 3-1 (25-22, 18-25, 17-25, 23-25). The Hawks move to 4-1, snapping a 23-straight regular season match winning streak. SUU went to 0-4 after the match with UMES, and New Mexico goes to 5-1.

The last time UMES lost a regular season match was back on September 24th, 2011, when the Hawks fell to Campbell in five sets in the High Point Invitational.

Southern Utah began the match with a 4-1 start. Off Kaveinga Lea'Aetoa's (Salt Lake City, Utah) serving, the Hawks went on a 5-0 run with help from a pair of Ndidi Ibe (North Richland Hills, Texas) blocks to take a 6-4 lead. Later at 10-8 Hawks, UMES earned another 5-0 run, fueled by a pair of Saitaua Iosia (Long Beach, Calif.) kills and Jessie Vicic (Cambridge, Ontario, Canada) aces to build a seven-point lead. A later 4-0 run off a pair of Victoria Williams (Los Angeles, Calif.) kills sealed the set for UMES. The Hawks won 25-14 with a .543 hitting percentage, earning 17 kills with just two errors. Iosia and Maline Vaitai (Salt Lake City, Utah) each got six kills with no errors in the first set.

The Hawks picked up where they left off into the second set as Iosia earned a kill and two aces to start the team on a 4-0 run. Southern Utah closed the gap to 6-5 UMES with a pair of Kyle Schofield kills. At 9-7 Hawks, the Maroon and Gray rallied off Vicic's serving for a 7-0 run, as Lea'Aetoa picked up a kill and two assists and Iosia notched two kills, to go up 16-7. UMES did not trail by less than eight again, as another late 5-0 run, with a pair of Ibe blocks and capped by two Lea'Aetoa aces, sealed the match as the Hawks won set two 25-14 to take a two-set lead.



The third set started with dominant serves, as three early UMES aces, one from Iosia and two straight by Lea'Aetoa, put the Hawks ahead 5-2. Play went back and forth until the Thunderbirds took three in a row after a Cashanna Renfro kill and a pair of UMES attack errors to tie the game at eight. After going down 10-9, UMES took three straight with a kill and block from Lea'Aetoa. Both sides continued to battle as UMES would take a small lead, then SUU tied it. At 17-17, the Thunderbirds took a pair of points on an attack error and a Hailey Moore kill to go up by two. After a Vaitai kill, SUU got another pair of scores for a three-point lead. But UMES pushed a 3-0 run to tie the score at 21. SUU again got a two-point advantage, and UMES tried to get back, but an Ana Mailoto kill in a furious rally in the final point gave set three to Southern Utah 25-23.

In the fourth game, neither side gained an early edge. Despite an early three-point run by setter Gabi Mirand on a kill and two aces, the two sides deadlocked at 8-8. The Thunderbirds went on a 4-0 run at that juncture, capped by two Anna Burgess aces, to go up 12-8. Southern Utah held a small lead for most of the set, but at 18-14 SSU, the Hawks put together four straight points on an attack error, kill and block by Vaitai and a Williams kill, to tie the set. But Southern Utah countered with its own 4-0 run on Annie Stradling's serving, including an ace by her, to rebuild a 22-18 lead. The Hawks got back to within two points 22-20, but the Thunderbirds pulled away and won 25-21, forcing a fifth set tiebreaker.

This was the first five-set match for both UMES and Southern Utah this season. Mailoto earned the first three points for the Thunderbirds on kills, giving SUU an early 3-2 lead. But Iosia took over for UMES, starting with a kill to tie the score. Following with an ace, the Hawks powered their way to a 6-0 run, capped by another Iosia ace, for an 8-3 advantage. At 9-5 UMES, a 3-0 run sealed it for the Hawks, an Iosia kill sandwiched by two Ibe kills. Two more late Iosia kills, including the final point, gave UMES a 15-7 fifth set win and match victory.

UMES then suited up against New Mexico that night. The Hawks gained an early edge in the first set when at 5-4 UMES, they won four of the next five points, capped by a Williams ace, to push ahead 9-5. Each side exchanged points as the Hawks eventually pushed the lead to five 15-10 after a UNM attack error. The Lobos got a 3-0 run to pull within two, but UMES maintained the lead and took four of five again, including a pair of kills by Iosia, to go up 20-15. Again New Mexico came close with a 3-0 run, but a service error and Lea'Aetoa kept UMES ahead 22-18. The Lobos got to within one at 23-22 UMES, but an Iosia kill and Alijah Gunsaulus attack error sealed the set for the Hawks 25-22.

Iosia began the second set with a couple of service aces for an early 2-0 lead. The Lobos countered with a 3-0 run, led by a pair of blocks by Lexi Ross. New Mexico registered six blocks in the first 14 points en route to a 9-6 Lobos lead. UMES got back to within one, but New Mexico went on a 4-0 run to take a 14-9 advantage. Play went back-and-forth, and UMES could not close the gap as the Lobos took set two 25-18 and tied the match.

A pair of Chantelle Riddle kills led the Lobos to an early 5-2 lead in the third game. Lea'Aetoa came on strong for the Hawks, attacking for a kill and serving an ace en route to a 3-0 run, tying the score at 7-7. The lead continued to change as neither gained more than a one-point lead as the score went to 13-13. UNM took three straight to go up 16-13, eventually building a 21-15 advantage. UMES switched up personnel and attempted a comeback with late kills from Iosia and Vaitai, but it was not enough as New Mexico won the set 25-17 and took a 2-1 lead into game four.

Timeout was called by UMES after an early 5-1 start by New Mexico in the fourth game, including a block solo and kill from Ross. The Hawks brought in newcomers Bridget Ebster-Schwarzenberger (St. Veiberstrabe, Austria) and Elli Steiner (Hallwang, Austria) to try to break the momentum. At 9-5 UNM, a big 4-0 run by the Hawks, started by Ebster-Schwarzenberger's first ever kill with UMES and finished by two kills and a block by Ibe, tied the set at nine. New Mexico regained its lead with three straight points, led by a pair of Riddle kills. Later at 15-12 UNM, Lea'Aetoa had after strong serving run, leading a 4-0 run to give UMES a 16-15 lead. A trio of errors gave the Lobos back the lead 18-16, but the Hawks pulled back together to tie the score at 19 off Ebster-Schwarzenberger and Ibe kills. A Ross kill and attack error pushed the Lobos in front 21-19, and despite getting close, the Hawks could not tie the game again and fell 25-23, giving New Mexico the 3-1 match win.

Iosia earned a double double against Southern Utah with 21 kills, 19 digs, and six aces, finishing the day with 36 kills, eight aces and 26 digs. Vaitai combined for 22 kills and 11 digs, Ibe had 11 kills and 10 blocks total, and Lea'Aetoa tallied 14 kills, seven aces and a trio of blocks. Ebster-Schwarzenberger was a perfect 4-4 in attacks in the match against New Mexico.

In the match vs. UMES, Renfro led Southern Utah with 13 kills, hitting .455 in the match, with three blocks. Mailoto earned a double double with 12 kills and digs, adding three blocks. Mirand constructed a line of 33 assists, three aces, seven kills and five digs.

Riddle finished with 20 kills and four blocks for New Mexico, with teammate Gunsalus earning a double double with 10 kills and 12 digs. Elsa Krieg had four kills and a team-high five blocks, tying that mark with Ross, who added three kills.

UMES will continue the Tiger Invitational tomorrow with a pair of matches, taking on UNC Asheville at 11 a.m. and Kennesaw State at 5 p.m. at the Tiger Arena in Savannah.

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