|#8 Paige Hughes - 15||Kills||#6 Kiley Collins - 17|
|#8 Paige Hughes - 6||Blocks||2 Players (#4,#11) - 2|
|#2 Kara Kempinski - 19||Digs||#16 Taylor Hermann - 27|
|3 Players - 1||Aces||#11 Kasey York - 2|
BATAVIA, Ohio -- The season opener for Marygrove women's volleyball (1-0) featured everything a competitive college contest could offer Monday (Aug. 25) at Cincinnati Clermont (0-1) as the teams battled back-and-forth en route to a five-set thriller. In the end, it was the visiting Mustangs that came out on top behind a balanced effort to win their season opener by a 3-2 final (21-25, 25-23, 24-26, 25-15, and 15-11).
After a long trip down I-75 to the greater Cincinnati area Monday, the Mustangs were slow out of the gate and dropped the first set by a narrow 25-21 margin to the host Cougars. Then, a mix of strong veteran leadership and stellar freshmen play brought the Mustangs back to tie the match after two sets behind a 25-23 second set decision.
The Cougars, also playing for the first time in 2014, willed their way to a crucial third set victory (26-24) before the Mustangs rallied to cruise 25-15 in set four and 15-11 in the deciding fifth set to earn the win. The Mustangs slammed home 15 kills (three errors) for a .480 hitting percentage in set four and finished the night with five kills in the shortened fifth set.
The Mustangs were balanced offensively as Paige Hughes (Belleville, Mich./New Boston Huron), Hailey Brandes (Southgate, Mich./Anderson) and Alixandria Pappas (St. Clair Shores, Mich./Lakeview) combined for 50 of the team's 57 kills. Hughes led the team with 15, while Brandes, Murphy and Pappas followed with 14, 11, and 10 respectively.
A key factor in Monday's season-opening victory was the Mustangs' ability to halt the Cougars attack around the net. Pappas, a junior captain, had a hand in a team-high-tying five block assists as the Mustangs went on to record one solo block and 18 block assists on the night. As a team, the Mustangs owned the overall blocks advantage 10-2.
Sophomore setter Hayley Jury (Plymouth, Mich./Livonia Ladywood) set up the Green & Gold attack nicely with 27 assists, while fellow setter Amber Staudt (Novi, Mich./Schoolcraft College) followed closely with 25 of her own.
Reigning WHAC Libero of the Year Kara Kempinski (Livonia, Mich./Schoolcraft College) picked up where she left off last season with a team-high 19 digs.
The Mustangs will return to the court Wednesday (Aug. 27) when they travel to Chattanooga, Tenn. to take on Tennessee Temple University at 7 p.m. The match can be heard live on the Mustang Sports Network beginning at 6:50 p.m.