Updated: Saturday, 17 Nov 2012, 12:06 AM EST
Published : Saturday, 17 Nov 2012, 12:06 AM EST
FARGO, N.D. - IPFW faced a 2-0 deficit on Friday night, but they battled back to defeat Oakland 3-2 (21-25, 20-25, 25-16, 29-27, 15-9) in the Summit League Semifinal Match in Fargo, N.D. The Mastodons will move on to the championship match to face the winner of the game between No. 1 seed IUPUI and No. 4 seed Kansas City.
The 2012 Summit League Player of the Year got off to a slow start against Oakland, but it wouldn't last long as Emily Spencer ended the night with a match-high 24 kills against the Golden Grizzlies. Also impacting the IPFW offense was the stellar play of Jessie Manwaring , Hailie Ripley , and Haley Emenhiser . Manwaring recorded 16 kills and led the team with four blocks while Ripley hit at a .321 clip posting 12 kills. Senior Haley Emenhiser was the fourth player to reach a double figure kill total as she ended the match with 10.
Megan Steenhuysen led IPFW with a match-high 57 assists and Tessa McGill did her job defensively, ending the night with a match-high 27 digs. Kendall Wienkes and Jen Milligan were also defensive minded against Oakland ending the match with 17 and eight digs respectively. Spencer once again showed her versatility as she recorded another double-double performance adding 15 digs to her 24 kills.
Meghan Bray was the top player for Oakland on Friday night as she ended the 2012 season with 21 kills and 20 digs against IPFW. Ciara Schultz and Alissa Valentine set up the offense with 25 and 21 kills and Alli Kirk played well defensively with 20 digs.
IPFW enjoyed a 2-0 lead after back-to-back errors from Oakland in the opening set. The Mastodons held a 5-2 lead after a service ace, but that margin would soon be erased as the Golden Grizzlies tied the match at 6-6. Neither team was able to create a lead as the game would stay close to the very end. Oakland pushed 21-19 advantage into a 23-19 lead after a kill from Bray. Ripley responded with a kill of her own, but the 'Dons couldn't hang on as Amanda Baker gave Oakland a 25-21 win.
Oakland used their momentum to open up a 10-4 lead in the second set. Emily Spencer cut the lead to three midway through the action as her kill made the score 15-12. The Golden Grizzlies responded with a string of scoring runs that gave them a 2-0 lead going into the break as they won set two 25-20.
IPFW faced elimination as the third set got underway, but adjustments were made and the 'Dons came out firing on all cylinders. Aggressive serving from Tessa McGill allowed IPFW to jump out to a 6-0 lead in set three. Oakland would eventually regain their composure and cut the lead to 12-10, but the 'Dons quickly increased the lead to 16-10 after a ball handling error from Schultz. Down the stretch it was a heavy dose of Emily Spencer and Hailie Ripley as the duo recorded multiple kills allowing IPFW to win 25-16.
The fourth set was by far the most entertaining as the teams went into overtime to decide the outcome. IPFW held a 24-18 lead towards the end of the match, but Oakland kept fighting to tie the game at 24-24 after six-straight points. Taylor Humm and Ciara Schultz each had two kills during that stretch of time as IPFW tried to avoid elimination. The 'Dons faced match point after another kill from Schultz, but senior Haley Emenhiser would not be denied as her kill tied the game at 25-25. Freshman Este Stoffel made a huge play in crunch time as her service ace would once again give IPFW a lead, but Oakland responded with a kill from Brittany Holbrook which tied the game at 26-26. An attack error would give Oakland another shot at ending the match, but it was Emenhiser again who would keep IPFW alive with a kill tying the game at 27-27. Emenhiser wasn't done as she gave IPFW the one point lead and an attack error ended the madness as IPFW forced a fifth set with a 29-27 win.
The Mastodons were determined to win as they jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the fifth set. Manwaring had three kills early and it was her fourth kill of the set that had the teams switch sides at 8-1. Oakland would make things interesting as they crept back into the game at 9-6, but the Mastodons would push their lead to 13-6 after a kill from Emenhiser. A ball handling error got IPFW to match point and Ripley ended the game with a kill that gave IPFW a 15-9 victory.
IPFW will advance to the championship game and face the winner of the IUPUI vs. Kansas City match. The 'Dons swept Kansas City during the regular season and split a pair of matches against IUPUI. The championship match will get underway at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17.
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