FORT MYERS, Fla. - The No. 2 Kennesaw State Owls captured their second ASUN Conference Volleyball Championship title with a 3-2 victory over No. 1 FGCU Saturday night at Alico Arena in Fort Myers, Fla.
KSU went on a 5-0 run to take a 7-4 lead early in the first set. Kennesaw State added another 5-1 run to put the Owls up 20-18. A kill by FGCU caused Head Coach Keith Schunzel to call a timeout. FGCU and KSU traded 3-0 runs, with the Owls taking the first set 27-25.
The second set opened on a 13-4 run for Kennesaw State to take a 14-6 lead. The Eagles started a run of their own to cut the lead to four. FGCU would add a late 3-0 run but a kill from Quin Sutphin would give the Owls a 2-0 advantage in the match, taking the second set 25-22.
Set three was a battle for the lead early in the set, but the Eagles broke a 6-6 tie with a kill by Tori Morris that sparked a short run. Once FGCU gained the lead they did not trail the Owls again, but the match would be tied another 13 times, the final tie coming at 24-24 when Morris again recorded a kill to put the Eagles at set point.
FGCU went on an early 4-1 run to open the fourth set with the Player of the Year Cortney VanLiew recording two kills in that stretch. The Eagles and Owls battled back and forth as the set saw a total of 18 ties and seven lead changes, the final lead change taking place at the 24-23 mark when FGCU's Amanda Carroll recorded a kill that set up a run that ended with two FGCU blocks to tie the match at two-all.
Back-to-back kills by Lauren Chastang tied the match at 10-10 after the Owls trailed. FGCU grabbed the lead once again but a 5-1 run by the Owls would end the match. Chastang and Dani Ballou recording the final two points of the match for KSU.
Inside The Box Score
- ASUN Championship MVP, Dani Ballou had a match-high and career-high 22 kills against FGCU while hitting .318.
- Lauren Chastang was one of two Owls to record a double-double tonight with 20 kills and 12 digs while Lexi Broadwater had 69 assists and 13 digs.
- FGCU had two players record double-doubles in Amanda Carroll (14 kills and 15 digs) and Cortney VanLiew (15 kills and 11 digs).
- The Owls had eight service aces while the Eagles only had two.
- FGCU had 19 team blocks to Kennesaw State's nine; Amanda Carroll had three solo blocks while adding nine block assists.
News & Notes
- The Owls have taken home the ASUN Championship title in two of its last four appearances in the ASUN Championship Final.
- This was the only five-set match of the 2019 ASUN Championship.
- Last year the FGCU Eagles won the two opening sets before the Owls forced the fifth set.
- Kennesaw State is just the fifth program all-time to win the title as a No. 2 seeded team, the first since 2011 when Lipscomb swept Belmont.
- The Championship match was decided in five sets for the 10th time in ASUN history and just the second time in consecutive seasons.
Dani Ballou, Kennesaw State (MVP)
Karlee Groover, Kennesaw State
Quin Sutphin, Kennesaw State
Lexi Broadwater, Kennesaw State
Dana Axner, FGCU
Tori Morris, FGCU
Samantha Rubal, Lipscomb
Kennesaw State earns the ASUN's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament and awaits its opponent and location that will be unveiled on the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday, Dec. 1 at 8:30 PM on ESPNU. The FGCU Eagles conclude its season with a 27-5 record.
ABOUT THE ASUN
The ASUN Conference is an NCAA Division I league with nine member institutions committed to Building Winners for Life. The ASUN meets the challenge of maintaining the highest standards in academic and athletic achievement through a true balance between student and athlete. Six ASUN schools reside in Nielsen Top 50 national media markets, and all nine are in top 80 markets. The ASUN includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Liberty University, Lipscomb University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, University of North Alabama, University of North Florida and Stetson University. Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky., joins the ASUN for the 2020-21 academic year.