Iosia earned 17 kills and four key second set aces in the victory over West Virginia.

Final Stats

MORGANTOWN, W.V. - UMES made a statement against a major-conference opponent on Friday, taking down Big 12 member West Virginia in four sets (27-25, 25-16, 19-25, 25-19) on the road to open the WVU Golden Horseshoe Challenge at the WVU Coliseum. The Hawks improve to 8-1 on the year while the Mountaineers fall to 3-6.

With the victory, the Hawks have defeated their last nine road tournament hosts dating back to 2010, including three this season with St. Francis (NY), Savannah State and West Virginia.

The Hawks got off to a strong start in the first set, using a pair of Saitaua Iosia (Long Beach, Calif.) and Ndidi Ibe (North Richland Hills, Texas) kills to begin 9-4. WVU got to within three at 11-8. Later at 15-12 Hawks, UMES went on a 4-0 run, including a Maline Vaitai (Salt Lake City, Utah) kill and block and Jessie Vicic (Cambridge, Ontario, Canada) dump kill and assist, to go ahead 19-12. But at 20-13 UMES, West Virginia rallied to pull within three off a kill and strong serves by Elzbieta Klein. Then, after an Iosia kill, the Mountaineers took five straight points, capped by a Nikki Attea kill, to take a 23-22 lead. Twice the Hawks successfully defended a WVU set point until the Hawks went ahead 26-25 on a Caleah Wells attack error. With Megan Mueller (Manchester, Mo.) serving, a Nikki Attea attack was blocked by Vaitai, giving the Hawks a 27-25 set win and 1-0 lead in the match.

Into the second set, Iosia served yet another run for the Hawks. After Hannah Sackett earned a kill to start, Iosia guided the Hawks through a 9-0 run, including two service aces by the sophomore, to give UMES a 9-1 advantage. But again WVU started to claw back into the set, going on a 4-0 run to pull with three 10-7. The Hawks kept the lead when at 13-9 UMES, Iosia earned a pair of kills in a row, followed by a Wells attack error, putting UMES up 16-9. Another pair of Iosia kills later put the Hawks forward 18-10. Two points later, Victoria Williams (Los Angeles, Calif.) earned a kill, starting a 5-0 run off two more Iosia aces. The Hawks held off a late comeback attempt by the Mountaineers as the Hawks won the set 25-16 to go up 2-0 in the match.



Game three started back and forth, with West Virginia winning the first two points and UMES countering with a pair of points. At 4-4, UMES took three in a row, including two Vaitai kills, to take a 7-4 lead. But WVU scored three straight off the serving of Evyn McCoy to tie the game. The sides continued to trade points, with both sides earning kills and neither taking a big lead. At 16-15 WVU, Ibe and Vaitai combined for block point, but the next point, Attea and Wells blocked an Iosia attack to take back the lead. That point sparked a 6-0 Mountaineers run, including three Sackett aces, to give West Virginia a 22-16 advantage. UMES could not come back, falling 25-19 but keeping a 2-1 lead in the match.

WVU went up early 2-0 to begin the fourth set. UMES fired back with a 4-0 run, including a combo block by Vaitai and Ibe. After WVU tied the game at six, the Hawks went on another run, winning five straight points on a Vaitai kill and two aces, an Iosia kill and Ibe and Vicic combo block, to go up 11-6. Following a Wells kill, Ibe, celebrating her birthday on Friday, earned a kill then a service ace, to push up UMES to 13-7. The Hawks never relinquished the lead, and despite a 3-0 WVU run to pull the tournament host within four, UMES maintained the lead by only allowing a pair of consecutive points by the Mountaineers one more time. A McCoy kill put the score at 19-16 UMES, and that is as close as WVU got in the rest of the set. Two more kills by Iosia gave the Hawks a 22-17 lead, and a final 3-0 run, capped by a Kaveinga Lea'Aetoa (Salt Lake City, Utah) kill, ended the game. The Maroon and Gray took the fourth set 25-19, winning the match over West Virginia 25-19.

Iosia led the Hawks with 17 kills, adding four second set service aces and six digs. Vaitai had 10 kills with six digs and a team-high four blocks, while Williams also contributed 10 kills, hitting .333. Vicic had a double double with 39 assists and 13 digs, both team-highs.

West Virginia was led by McCoy, who earned 12 kills with three blocks, hitting .381. Wells got eight kills, while Brittany Sample earned a double double with 33 assists and 12 digs.

UMES will finish the WVU Golden Horseshoe Challenge tomorrow with a pair of matches at the WVU Coliseum, taking on St. Peter's at 10 a.m. and Wright State at 2 p.m.

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