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Friday, Feb. 23
The Indiana Daily Student

sports volleyball

Volleyball sweeps adidas Classic, Benson earns 2nd MVP

Team rallies against Illinois State, handles other matches

Volleyball

The IU volleyball team (6-0) remained undefeated in non-conference play this weekend with wins against Arkansas State, Illinois State and North Carolina State in the IU adidas Classic in University Gym.

Senior middle blocker Ashley Benson, junior libero Caitlin Cox and sophomore outside hitter Jordan Haverly earned all-tournament team honors.

Benson totaled 39 kills at a .548 hitting percentage and averaged 1.91 blocks per set on the weekend to garner the invitational’s MVP award as she had done the previous week at the Georgia Tech Courtyard Marriott Classic.

The tournament featured the Hoosiers’ toughest opponents of any non-conference tournament, IU coach Sherry Dunbar said.

“This tournament was a little bit of a struggle for us because of the even competition,” Dunbar said. “We had our ups and downs, but in the end I told them it’s all about winning.”

She said last year they lost to UT-Martin, and it was probably the reason they were out of the tournament.

“Every single match is brutally important to us,” Dunbar said.

Haverly, who recorded 36 kills in IU’s three matches, said the competition was good preparation.

“Playing the well-known teams that we have will get us ready for Big Ten play,” she said.

The Hoosiers had no trouble winning their tournament opener against Arkansas State in straight sets, 25-14, 25-13 and 25-17.

Benson dominated the match with 14 kills and a hitting percentage of .722.

Against Illinois State on Saturday, IU jumped to an early two-set lead, but the Redbirds rallied to claim the next two sets and force a decisive fifth frame.

IU saw itself trailing 13-8 in the final set, but defensive specialist Laura Matula and outside hitter Ivie Obeime sparked rallies to seal the comeback at 16-14.

Haverly and junior setter Mary Chaudoin both went for double-doubles on the match. Haverly piled up 17 kills and 10 digs, while Chaudoin set up 50 assists and earned 10 digs herself.

The Hoosiers made the championship match seem like any other contest, beating the Wolfpack 25-23, 25-19 and 25-20.

Dunbar said she saw a difference in the play against North Carolina State for the championship.

“This morning was really a struggle for us, and we pulled it out, but I thought we were much more aggressive tonight,” Dunbar said.

Next weekend the Hoosiers look to continue their undefeated efforts to upstate New York in the Niagara/Canisius Tournament.

“Every time we step on the court we are finding ways to win,” Dunbar said.

The non-conference play will act as practice for the Big Ten play, which will be against some tough opposition.

“I think it’s just helping us realize what we need to focus and improve on,” Haverly said. “Once we get to Big Ten, hopefully we will have it all figured out and be ready to go.”

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