Women’s volleyball clinches regular season title, win streak extends to 10

By Matthew Poshedley

It was a special night inside the Woodling Gymnasium at Cleveland State University on Friday, Nov. 10.

The Vikings came into the game with a 19-7 record and were just one win away from their 20th win of the season.

The crowd was electric as their cheers echoed throughout the gymnasium. The rumblings of the stands lit a fire underneath a team that is already burning hot.

The Vikings knew their final opponent of the regular season, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (UWGB), would come in motivated to put a stop to their winning streak.

UWGB had a record of 12-13 and was sitting in fifth place. The Vikings knew they would have to play good volleyball in order to add another victory to their win column.

“We wanted to just focus on our side, taking it one play at a time and focus on our business,” senior Gina Kilner said.

The Vikings would win the first two sets and lose the third and fourth. Once the fifth set started, the confident crowd grew restless.

The Vikings’ point total was getting closer to 15 in their fifth and final set.

One by one, fans rose to their feet.

After a perfect set by Kilner and a kill by freshman Emily DeGeorge, the crowd erupted, and the Vikings won their 10th straight match. Cleveland State improved their regular season record to 20-7.

“It’s a great feeling. We’ve worked hard this whole season,” Kilner said. “I really think it shows our hard work has paid off.”

During the match, senior Alexis Middlebrooks and sophomore Sara Skeens each recorded 18 kills to lead the Vikings’ offense, and Kilner recorded 53 assists.

On the defensive end, senior Shannon Grega led the Vikings with 23 total digs, while junior Rachael Dohar added 14. Middlebrooks led the Vikings with five total blocks, while Skeens added three.

It was a great win for the team, but an even better experience for seniors Kilner, Middlebrooks, Grega and Katie Mihalik.

Cleveland State honored these seniors because it was their final regular season game.

“Every game is special, every practice is special because before you know it, it’s going to be over,” Kilner said. “Taking it one game at a time, I took everything in.”

The Vikings are hosting the Horizon League Tournament which begins Friday, Nov. 17, and they will look to win their third straight Horizon League title.

The Vikings are the top seed and will receive a first round bye. Their championship run will start in a semifinal contest on Saturday, Nov. 18.

“Fans can expect what they saw tonight, the cheering … and [the gym being] even more packed than it was tonight,” Kilner said. “Our team is going to come out playing how we play.”

 

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