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Wirtz, Fischesser play key roles as Norse win five-game thriller against Lewis

Jennifer Wirtz collects a kill against Lewis

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - For most of Saturday afternoon in Regents Hall, Lewis dominated the net against Northern Kentucky University with its superior height and blocking ability.

But when it came down to winning time in the fifth game, it was the Norse who produced the key plays and blocks.

Lynne Fischesser and Kristina Eisenmenger combined for block assists on two consecutive points in the deciding game as NKU pulled out a 30-32, 30-25, 24-30, 30-28, 15-11 win over Lewis. Eisenmenger also recorded 21 kills as the Norse rallied to hand Lewis its first loss in Great Lakes Valley Conference play.

NKU improved to 16-4 overall, 5-2 in the GLVC. Lewis dropped to 11-5 overall, 4-1 in the GLVC.

The match might have not reached a fifth game if not for the play of NKU junior outside hitter Jennifer Wirtz, who tallied 17 kills. Wirtz notched four clutch kills in the fourth game as the Norse pulled out a 30-28 victory.

NKU jumped out to a 4-0 advantage in the fifth game, but Lewis rallied and tied the score at 5-all. That set the stage for Fischesser and Eisenmenger - both graduates of Notre Dame Academy - to literally block Lewis’ hopes of winning the match.

With NKU holding an 11-8 lead, Lewis outside hitter Theresa Nugent attempted an attack that was blocked by Fischesser and Eisenmenger. The next point was identical, as Nugent’s attack was again stuffed by Fischesser and Eisenmenger for a 13-8 Norse advantage.

Kristina Eisenmenger with an attack

Fischesser added a kill to give NKU a 14-9 lead, and Eisenmenger later closed out the victory for the Norse by slamming down her 21st kill as the Norse took a 15-11 win. In the fifth game, NKU recorded six block assists, while Lewis had just one solo block by Nugent.

Eisenmenger had seven blocks and hit .280 for the match. Tristen Dye collected 18 kills for NKU, while teammate Liz Holmes added 15 kills and 22 digs. The Norse finished with 110 digs as a team, compared to 71 for Lewis.

Andrea Lanham - another graduate of Notre Dame Academy - ran the NKU offense and dished out 71 assists. She also added 22 digs and five kills.

Fischesser had 14 digs and two service aces, while Natalie Forbes served up three aces and had 12 digs. NKU hit .215 for the match, while Lewis attacked at a .177 clip.

Lewis finished with five solo blocks and 24 block assists. Sarah McKinney led the Flyers with 15 kills. Aubrey Dondlinger added 14 kills, while Nugent finished with 13 kills, three solo blocks and six block assists.

NKU will play a non-conference match at Wheeling Jesuit on Thursday. The Norse will resume GLVC play Oct. 14 with a match against defending league champion Southern Indiana at Evansville, Ind.

NKU will also meet preseason GLVC favorite Southern Illinois at Edwardsville on Oct. 15 at Edwardsville, Ill.