SEATTLE — Gutsy. That was one of the words to describe the performance shown by Seattle U volleyball on Saturday evening following an exciting 3-2 come-from-behind victory against in-state rival, Gonzaga.
The Redhawks, which improved to 6-2 on the year and 2-0 at home, were outmatched early as they were held to sub-.100 hitting in each of first two frames, including a match-worst, -.067 in the second and were bullied into dropping the set 25-9.
The young Seattle U side however remained optimistic at the break before posting its best offensive set in third, hitting .316 with 16 kills on 38 swings. Underclassmen Amaris Carter and Eve Kerschenbaum led the way for the Redhawks as both had five kills, while Sofia Sanchez followed with four. Seattle U used an early 3-0 pushing its way forward at 6-4 and never looked back en route.
Ezgi Ozkan, who finished with 44 assists, gave the Redhawks its largest lead, 15-8, midway through finding a hole in the Bulldog defense for one of her team-best two aces on the night. Gonzaga however trimmed the margin to two late a 4-0 run made it, 22-20. SU however remained poised as it closed the frame, 25-22, with kills from Kerschenbaum and Carter and an ace from Aly Borje-Bonkowski.
The Redhawks and Bulldogs battled through nine ties and four lead changes in a tightly contested fourth set. Trailing 15-12, Carter and Kerschenbaum hemmed back-to-back kills to cut the deficit to one. Still down the Redhawks benefitted from a pair of Gonzaga miscues to pull at 18-all. Possession then see-sawed until a pair of heavy strikes from Carter and Gonzaga errors made it 24-21, before a Tijana Milojevic ace knotted the match a 2-2.
It was all Redhawks in the fifth as they sprinted to a 7-2 lead before switching ends of the court with an 8-3 advantage. Carter added another kill to make 9-3 en route to finishing the night with 10. The Gonzaga cut the SU lead to 10-8, behind a 5-0 run. The Bulldog effort though fell short as Julia Queiroz and Eve Kerschenbaum teamed up for the final point to complete the comeback.
Individually, Sanchez led all players with 15 kills as Kerschenbaum followed with 14 kills. Milojevic had 23 digs. Lauren McCabe meanwhile paced the Redhawk defensive effort at the net with a career-best nine blocks.
Seattle U returns ti action on Saturday when it closes the Redhawk Invitational with New Mexico and Oregon State at 11 am and 6 pm, respectively. Tickets to both events are available at GoSeattleU.com/tix.