The Shore fends off Spartan attack in four sets
Mere Serea went 9-for-15 on the attack with seven block assists in the win on her Senior night
Nov. 4, 2016

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PRINCESS ANNE, Maryland — Maryland Eastern Shore volleyball won their third straight match Friday night, using a full team effort to fend off an aggressive Norfolk State attack, with the Hawks defeating the Spartans in four sets (25-19, 21-25, 25-21, 25-14) inside the William P. Hytche Athletic Center. The Shore improved to 16-12 (9-2 MEAC) while the Spartans fell to 6-19 (4-7 MEAC).

“This was a nice team win.” Coach Toby Rens said post-match. “I thought we took care of business and played well during pressure situations. Lucia and Mere really set the tone for us tonight and that made all the difference.”

Senior Mere Serea (Suva, Fiji) was efficient on the attack and block throughout the match, ending the night with nine kills against one error over 15 attempts while participating on seven of the team’s eight blocks. Sophomore Lucia Babic (Sisak, Croatia) led in digs with 13 while supplying eight kills with just two errors.

The premier Hawks attacker was sophomore Rachel Kayongo (Northridge, California), who scattered 13 kills over 35 attempts while adding eight digs, a pair of block assists and an ace. Fellow sophomore Zuzana Ondruskova (Bilovec, Czech Republic) narrowly missed a double-double with nine kills and nine digs.

The Shore also received 42 assists from freshman Ivana Blazevic (Zagreb, Croatia), seven digs from sophomore Koya Sowells (Missouri City, Texas), a five kill night with a .571 hitting percentage from junior Kirstin Fink (Tucson, Arizona), two aces from sophomore Marta Klafuric (Donja Lomnica, Croatia) and four digs with a block assist and an ace from freshman Iva Vujosevic (Bar, Montenegro).

Norfolk State was led by a double-double of 12 kills and 12 digs from Jessica Johnson and a match high 17 digs from libero Melvina Brown.

Set one went as scripted for the Hawks, despite a close battle with the Spartans. The Shore captured the lead at the 10-9 mark with a kill and two aces from Klafuric. They would maintain a slim edge until the Spartans delivered a quick 3-0 spurt to reclaim the lead at 18-17 and force a Hawks timeout. But the Hawks would strike back with a 3-0 run of their own, then take the set by six with a 5-0 burst that include a Blazevic ace.

The second set also played tight early, with both teams tying at 10. It was here that Norfolk State seized control, using blocks, aces and kills to jump out and lead with a 7-1 run. Babic and Serea delivered kills to try and stop the attack, but the deficit was too much to overcome as the Spartans knotted the match with a four set win entering intermission.

At the start, it appeared as if the Spartans would run past the Hawks entering the third set. Norfolk State raced out to a 9-3 advantage before The Shore called timeout. However the Hawks answered right back, getting kills from Klafuric, Ondruskova and Kayongo as part of an 8-2 run to tie it up at 11. The teams would trade points over the next few volleys before the Hawks earned another trio of kills that extended a one point lead to four. They would ride the advantage to a 2-1 match advantage.

With momentum now on their side, The Shore pounced on the Spartans in the fourth. It was now the Spartans who faced a 9-4 deficit, and despite their best efforts to rally, Norfolk State could not get closer than four. Another 5-0 run late pushed the Hawks advantage up to ten, and that helped Maryland Eastern Shore emerge victorious with an 11 point win.

The Hawks head to Delaware State for a 1 p.m. Sunday matinee to close out the regular season.



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