Nov. 20, 2003
NKU OUSTS FINDLAY FROM NCAA TOURNEY
Koralewski, Welter lead Norse to NCAA Tournament victory
MARQUETTE, Mich. - In the clutch Thursday night, it was Kristin Koralewski who rescued the Northern Kentucky University volleyball team during the first round of the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region Tournament.
NKU and the University of Findlay were near the end of a fourth-game battle at the Vandament Arena, with the Oilers holding a 33-32 lead and serving for the game. Thats when Koralewski - the 2003 Great Lakes Valley Conference Player of the Year - took over.
Just when Findlay looked ready to force a fifth game, Koralewski hammered down an attack to tie the set at 33-33. She followed that with three straight kills as NKU fought off Findlay for a 32-30, 21-30, 30-25, 36-34 victory and a berth in the regional semifinals against unbeaten Northern Michigan University (26-0) Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Hopefully, the momentum of this match will carry over against Northern Michigan, said Koralewski, who ended the match with a power-tip to the left side of the net.
Koralewski, a junior outside hitter who played at Northern Michigan before transferring to NKU in 2002, finished the match with 25 kills, nine digs and a .283 hitting percentage. The fifth-seeded Norse improved to 25-11 and also avenged two regular-season losses to fourth-seeded Findlay (29-8).
We knew we could beat this team if we pulled together and played our game, NKUs Cammi Welter said. We gave them all the momentum early in each game, but we fought back each time.
Findlay jumped out to a 17-13 lead in the fourth game, but NKUs Lynne Fischesser served nine straight points as the Norse gained a 23-17 advantage. Welter, who finished with 16 kills, 11 digs and eight blocks, came up with two key blocks during the run.
NKUs defensive effort was way above ours, and thats why they won, Findlay head coach Wick Colchagoff said.
Koralewski collected 10 kills in the fourth game, and she tallied the final four NKU points by converting the attacks. Nicole Salisbury finished with 17 kills and a .378 hitting percentage for NKU, and Kaliana Kalache added 10 kills, a .571 hitting percentage and four blocks.
We had it in the back of our minds that they beat us twice during the regular season, NKU head coach Carlos Chia said. We relied on our passing in this one, and we did a very good job in this match.
Sara Taylor dished out 63 assists for NKU, and Fischesser finished with four service aces. The Norse hit .321 as a team and won the blocking battle by a 20-12 margin over the taller Oilers.
Maggie Pugh had five blocks and added seven kills for NKU. Kara Heitmeyer led Findlay with 28 kills, while teammate Erin Puthoff added 15 kills.
NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional
(at Marquette, Mich.)
Thurs., Nov. 20
#3 Grand Valley State def. #6 Indianapolis, 3-2
#5 Northern Kentucky def. #4 Findlay, 3-1
Fri., Nov. 21
#2 Wheeling Jesuit (38-2) vs. Grand Valley State (27-7), 5 p.m.
#1 Northern Michigan (26-0) vs. Northern Kentucky (25-11), 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Nov. 22
Championship, 7:30 p.m.