(NORTH CANTON, Ohio) – An interesting event occurred in the five-set thriller between Walsh and Malone as the team on the north side of the court won every set Friday evening. When the dust settled, the university to the north also reigned supreme.
The Cavaliers (10-8, 7-3) took over first place in the G-MAC's East Division as they defeated the Pioneers (11-7, 7-3) in a nail biter 25-21, 19-25, 25-22, 20-25, 15-10. It was Walsh's third five-set match this season, all of which resulted in victories for the Maroon and Gold.
It was everything you'd expect between two rivals at the top of their game. Rarely did a team take a lead larger than five points, and if one did, the other was quick to respond and threaten to come back.
This was evident in the final two sets. In the fourth game, Malone jumped out to a 9-2 lead, but the Cavs answered as they scored the next five points and were eventually able to tie the set at 14-14. Ultimately Walsh fell 25-20 after the Pioneers forced the fifth with the final three points.
However set five belonged to Walsh as the hosts were able to jump out to the 8-1 lead before the switch to the north side of the court and an eventual 9-2 lead after the next two points. The Pioneers still managed to make it close at 11-7, but Walsh was able to close out the match with an ace by Erica Schiets along with a pair of Paola Ferrario spikes.
Lauren Loucks led an impressive Cavalier attack that laid down 64 kills on the night with a season-high 25 of her own with a .309 hitting percentage. Hallie Schroeder added 19 of her own, a season-best for her as well. Olivia Zanolli, who was honored before the match for recording her 3,000th assists, added 54 more to her total, two shy of her best mark this season.
Defense was also on full display with plenty of blocks. The Cavaliers shut down eight Pioneer attacks with Justine Coffman leading the defense as she was a part of five of them. Amber King went up for three and rejected two attempts by herself. Malone added 10 blocks of its own with Mallory Adams participating in seven of them.
Walsh also received a valiant effort defensively on Pioneer attacks across the board as five players recorded double-figures in digs. Amanda Adoranti once again led all players with 26. Ferrario added 17, Schiets totaled 16, Zanolli picked up 15, and Schroeder tallied 11.
The Pioneers were led by Maggie Hamrock with 25. Their offense was led by Hannah Eliason and Veronica Gehring with 12 kills each.
The Cavs now head on the road for their next eight matches. That stretch will start next week when Walsh heads to the Mountain State to take on Ohio Valley Friday at 7 p.m. A date with Ohio Dominican will follow in Columbus on Saturday.