- Did anyone out there really expect this result? On the opening
night of the season, in a hostile environment against a perennial
NCAA Division II powerhouse that rarely loses at home?
University surprised many people Friday night by stunning No. 9
North Alabama, 30-24, 30-22, 27-30, 22-30, 18-16, at the North Alabama
Classic in Flowers Hall. The Lions - who finished as NCAA Division
II national runner-up last season with a 35-6 record - were unable
to hold off a stubborn NKU team that refused to fold in the fifth
game Friday night.
NKU (2-0) jumped
out to a 2-0 lead in games, but North Alabama (1-1) bounced back
to win the next two stanzas to force a deciding fifth set. The Lions
bolted out to a 5-0 lead in the fifth, but NKU used a 10-5 run to
tie the game at 10-all.
Alabama built 13-10 lead, NKU took advantage of two attack errors
and a bad set to tie the score at 13-all. Liz Holmes converted an
attack with North Alabama holding match point to tie the game at
14-all, and Natalie Forbes later notched a kill to give NKU a 16-15
lead. North Alabama tied the score at 16-all on a kill by Nicole
Montey, but the Lions committed two straight errors - one serving
and another on an attack - as NKU pulled off the upset.
remained calm and cool, even when North Alabama built that early
lead in the fifth game,” NKU head coach Carlos Chia said.
“Our players showed a great deal of composure to beat a great
team in their own gym. It is a huge victory.”
led NKU with 13 kills, while Holmes and Tristen Dye each added 11
kills. Freshman Morgan Elyea had seven kills and hit .462 for the
Norse, who will meet both Tusculum and No. 8 Ashland to close out
the two-day event Saturday.
Dye led the
defense with 17 digs, while teammates Brittany Dixon and Chelsea
Clark each collected 10 digs. Clark also added seven kills and three