Five-set comeback falls just short for Mastodon women’s volleyball

College Sports

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Purdue Fort Wayne women’s volleyball team saw its best offensive performance of the season on Sunday (Sept. 26), but it was not enough to top Horizon League foe UIC, as the Mastodons fell 3-2 (19-25, 25-22, 25-23, 18-25, 15-12) in the Gates Sports Center.

The Mastodons hit .302 against the Flames, with 53 of the team’s 64 kills coming from Katie Crowe, Madelyn Wurster and Maggie Castleman. Wurster had her best match of the season after returning from an injury, finishing with 17 kills and a career-high eight blocks. Crowe had 22 kills with a .347 hitting clip to lead the Mastodon attack.

Purdue Fort Wayne opened the match with a 7-1 stretch. Wurster and Molly Mirabelli combined for a block to start the match, then Crowe, Wurster and Mirabelli got kills. Later in the set, Castleman got a kill before Mirabelli aced the Flames. After weathering a 6-0 run from UIC, the Mastodons had a 10-2 run that Crowe capped off with two straight aces. Castleman slammed down a kill to end the set.

After a 21-21 tie in the second set, UIC rattled off four of the last five points of the set. Crowe was excellent in the frame, recording nine kills on 17 swings. In the third set, Wurster had four straight kills to go up 14-10, but UIC had a 5-1 run to get back in it, then closed the frame on a 6-1 run.

In set four, the ‘Dons had a 6-1 run behind Mirabelli’s service, which included an ace. UIC tied it up at 17, but Crowe went to the service line after a kill to spur on an 8-1 run. Wurster and Ramei Jackson combined for back-to-back blocks to send the match to a decisive fifth. The ‘Dons hit a scorching .444 in the fourth.

The last set of the night was decided after UIC rattled off a 5-0 run to start. The ‘Dons cut the lead to just one when Jackson blocked a Flames’ attack, but UIC then scored four in a row. The ‘Dons whittled down the four-point lead, but the Flames traded points with the ‘Dons down the stretch to come out on top.

Purdue Fort Wayne falls to 2-14, 0-3 Horizon League, while UIC improves to 6-8, 2-0. The Mastodons have another quick turnaround to their next match, which will be at Oakland on Tuesday, September 28 at 6 p.m.

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