The Ashland University volleyball team overcame three set points in the opening set and rode that momentum to a 26-24, 25-23, 25-18 sweep of Tiffin in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play at Kates Gymnasium on Tuesday (Sept. 19) night.
With the win, the Eagles (7-4, 1-2 GLIAC) snapped a four-match losing streak while also extending their home winning streak to 19. AU will have a chance to get to 20 straight at Kates Gymnasium on Sept. 29 against Davenport.
On Tuesday, the Eagles trailed by a 24-21 count before rallying to the win in Set 1. Junior Reanne Neal's kill made it 24-22 before she combined with junior Kayla Pfeiffer on a block to cut the deficit to one. Two straight mistakes by the Dragons forced a timeout and gave AU a 25-24 lead, and an attack error by Grace Schreiber handed the Eagles the win.
The Dragons (5-6, 0-3 GLIAC) had a 15-12 lead in Set 2, but the Eagles went on another 5-0 run to take a 17-15 advantage with Neal serving. Ashland had three blocks in that stretch, including two straight by Pfeiffer and redshirt-sophomore Michaela Ping.
The Eagles stretched their lead to 20-17, but after a Tiffin timeout, the visitors scored four in a row to go up, 21-20. AU responded and an attack error by the Dragons gave the Eagles the win.
Trailing 15-13 in Set 3, the Eagles finished with a 12-3 run to put the match away. AU's defense was a major contributor, leading to sideouts on 88 percent of Tiffin's serves in the frame.
Ashland held a 9-4 advantage in blocks for the match and led in hitting percentage, .202 to .113.
Neal chipped in eight kills and sophomore Paige Leitz added seven. Ping had six kills and a match-high five blocks.
Senior Melanie Aguayo led the back row with 14 digs and Pfeiffer handed out 33 assists to go with eight digs.
The Eagles will finish a stretch of eight matches in nine on the road this weekend. They will first play Lake Superior State on Friday (Sept. 22) in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. at 7 p.m.