Victoria Williams had 12 kills and four blocks combined in the two matches.

Sept. 1, 2012

UMES - UNC Asheville Box Score | UMES - Kennesaw State Box Score

SAVANNAH, Ga. - The Hawks made their mark in the Tiger Invitational on Saturday, shutting out UNC Asheville 3-0 (27-25, 25-15, 25-21) and Kennesaw State (25-22, 25-17, 25-16) to go to 6-1 on the year, their best start to the season since 2002. UNC Asheville fell to 1-6 after its match with UMES, while Kennesaw State dropped to 5-3.

UMES's 6-1 start is the best beginning to a season since 2002, when the Hawks under Toby Rens had a 7-2 record in its first nine matches.

Don Metil's team improves to 3-1 in the tournament and can earn second place in the Tiger Invitational with a win over Savannah State on Sunday.

Maline Vaitai (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Saitaua Iosia (Long Beach, Calif.) started UMES off strong in the first set. After Vaitai earned the first kill, she served through a 5-0 run, including an ace and two Iosia kills. UNC Asheville responded with a 5-0 run of its own, including a kill and ace by Katie Davis. A pair of Iosia kills gave UMES back a 7-5 lead as the teams started exchanging points. At 12-10 UMES, the Bulldogs won six of the next seven points, including another Davis ace. After a timeout, the Hawks dug in and at 17-14 Bulldogs, Iosia served the Hawks to a 6-0 run, including a pair of kills by Victoria Williams (Los Angeles, Calif.), to pull ahead 20-17. A later 3-0 run capped by a Megan Mueller (Manchester, Mo.) ace and combo block by Vaitai and Ndidi Ibe (North Richland Hills, Texas) gave UMES a 24-20 lead and set point. But the Bulldogs took four points in a row to tie the set at 24. After each side exchanged a point, Ibe earned a kill in the middle for another set point. Elli Steiner (Hallwang, Austria) served for the set as Kaveinga Lea'Aetoa (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Jessie Vicic (Cambridge, Ontario, Canada) blocked Meredith Foster's attack to secure the set win 27-25 for UMES.



The second set started roughly for both teams as a bad set, service ace and three attack errors put UMES up early 3-2. At 6-5 UNC Asheville, the Hawks went on a 3-0 run, started by an Iosia ace and Vaitai kill, but later, the Bulldogs took three straight off kills from Davis and Anna Moore. UNC Asheville led 11-10 when Iosia came on strong again. After a kill from her, she served an ace. After an attack error from Holly Shelton, Iosia earned a kill from the back row, the first of three straight UMES kills, followed by another service ace. After a kill each from Lea'Aetoa and Williams and two attack errors by Davis, UMES finished an 11-0 run to take a dominating 21-11 lead. A Bulldogs 3-0 run was countered by a 3-0 UMES run off three straight UNC Asheville attack errors, sealing the set for UMES. The Hawks won set two 25-15 and led the match 2-0.

UMES picked up where it left off into the third set, starting with four straight points, ending on a kill and two straight blocks by Williams. But again the Bulldogs came back, going on a 5-0 run, including three attack errors. Play went back-and-forth as the score stayed close, Christine Lakatos earning kills for the Bulldogs and Iosia doing the same for UMES, as UNC Asheville led 11-10. After a Moore service ace, again the Hawks benefitted from Iosia's serving, as UMES put together a 5-0 run to take a 15-11 advantage. The Bulldogs pulled back to within one by taking four of five points, but UMES rebuilt its lead to five after two kills from Vaitai, an Iosia solo block and a dump kill by Vicic. Despite a pair of blocks by the Bulldogs, UMES did not relinquish the lead as the Hawks won on the final point off an Iosia ace, giving the Maroon and Gray a 25-21 set win and shutout match victory.

UMES returns to Tiger Arena later that day to take on Kennesaw State. Three times at the start did UMES score two points for one by KSU to take an early 6-3 lead. The Owls responded with four straight points off three kills and an Emily Bean ace to go up 7-6. UMES stayed close and tied the game at 12 after a Vaitai kill and combo block by Ibe and Williams. The Hawks later went on a 3-0 run to go up 16-14, but the Owls recovered to tie the score at 16. After an Ibe kill, Steiner served four straight times, including an ace, to power UMES to a 4-0 run and give the Hawks a 20-16 advantage. Twice the Owls got back to within two, but a pair of late Vaitai kills gave the Hawks the 25-22 set victory in the first game.

An attack error and Iosia ace gave the Hawks a 2-0 lead at the start of the second set. After KSU tied it up at two, UMES scored three in a row, begun by an Iosia kill and Lea'Aetoa ace, to push ahead 5-2. Bean had a kill and served well to pull the Owls within one at 6-5. But Vaitai responded with a pair of service aces during a 6-0 streak by UMES for a 12-5 advantage. A Sara Matroka dump kill and pair of attack errors made the score 12-8 UMES. UMES and Kennesaw State went back-and-forth as the Hawks kept the lead, using a KSU bad set and Iosia kill to build a seven-point lead at 21-14. At 21-16, the Hawks won four of the final five points, ending on a Williams kill, to take the set 25-17 and go up by two games to none.

A pair of blocks by Bean and Cierra Royster gave the Owls a 3-1 lead to open the third game. Consecutive kills by Lea'Aetoa, Ibe and Vaitai gave UMES its first lead of the set at 4-3. After a KSU point, Mueller served through a 3-0 run, followed a point later by another 3-0 run, capped by two Vaitai aces, to put the Maroon and Gray up 11-7. The Hawks did not relinquish the lead, trading points with the Owls until the 18-14 mark. Following a Bean attack error, Steiner again served UMES through a run, using two kills and a block from Lea'Aetoa and a kill and block from Iosia, to win six straight points to seal the set. A Lea'Aetoa kill ended the set at 25-16, giving the match to the Hawks in straight sets.

Three Hawks earned double doubles against UNC Asheville. Scoring 11 kills, 11 digs and five aces against the Bulldogs, Iosia finished with 23 kills, eight aces and 17 digs, leading the Hawks in the two former categories. Vaitai, after getting 11 kills and 12 digs in the first match, had 21 kills, 14 digs and six aces. Vicic earned 31 assists and 14 digs against UNC Asheville, totaling 67 assists, 20 digs and five kills on the day. Lea'Aetoa hit .407 on the day, getting 15 kills and seven assists.

Against UMES, Lakatos led UNC Asheville with eight kills and a pair of blocks. Shelton finished with five kills and eight digs, while Davis had 13 assists, six digs, two aces and a pair of kills.

The Owls were led by Bean against UMES, who totaled 10 kills and three blocks. Keyaira Stevenson had six kills and three digs, while Baylee Strachan also had six kills.

UMES will take on tournament host Savannah State on Sunday at 10 a.m. to finish the Tiger Invitational.

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