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Rockford Battles but Falls in Five Sets

Alex Storey
Alex Storey

MILWAUKEE, Wis. - The Rockford University women's volleyball team played its second road Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference match of the week on Thursday as the Regents squared off against the Alverno College Inferno. The match went back-and-forth the entire evening as both the Regents and the Inferno held a lead at one point or another with the match ultimately coming down to a fifth and deciding set. Unfortunately it was the Inferno who came out victorious, winning the match 3-2.

The match got off to a very positive start for Rockford as it won the opening set 25-21. The Regents performed well in the set as they led from start to finish. Rockford began the set on a 3-0 run and eventually pushed its lead to 8 points at 20-12. The Inferno would make it close as they pulled back to within three points, but Rockford closed strong as senior Liberty Hartman (Freeport, Ill.) put the set away with the winning kill.

The second and third sets were the exact opposite of the first as the Inferno never trailed in either, winning by final scores of 25-15 and 25-20. In the second set, the Inferno jumped out to an early 13-4 lead, and coasted the remainder of the way to tie the match at 1-1. The third set was much closer as the two teams traded points early on. Although Rockford never led, the Regents tied the set on four occasions in the opening moments, but unfortunately it was Alverno who then used a 10-3 run to take control. Rockford was never quite able to recover, losing the set and falling behind 2-1. 

Despite the setback, the ladies never gave up and came from behind to win the fourth set 25-19 forcing a fifth and deciding set. With Rockford trailing 14-12, the Regents used a 6-0 run off the serve of Hartman to pull back in front for good. Sophomore Alex Storey (Dexter, Mich.) led the charge during that stretch with a pair of crucial kills as the Regents went on to even the match at 2-2.

The deciding set started out as a back-and-forth affair; however, it was Alverno who was then able to seize control. The Inferno used a pair of 4-0 runs to build a 13-7 lead and put Rockford back on its heels. However, the ladies continued to fight and responded with a 4-0 run of their own to pull within 2 points at 13-11. Unfortunately it was not enough as Alverno scored the final two points of the set to win the match by a 3-2 score.

Senior Liberty Hartman had by far her best match of the season on Thursday. Hartman led the Rockford attack with a season-high 8 kills on 21 attempts with just 2 errors. She also added 3 service aces, 3 digs and 3 block assists. 

Freshmen Kayla Barthels (Fort Worth, Tex.) and August Guest (Lahaina, Hawaii) each played well in the match. Barthels tallied a season-high 23 assists, 4 digs, 2 block assists, 1 ace and 1 kills, while Guest recorded a season-high 7 kills. 

Alex Storey also had a nice match with 7 kills, 2 service aces and a career-high 19 digs. 

The RU women's volleyball team returns to the court on Saturday, September 17 for a pair of non-conference matches. Rockford opens at 11:00 AM at Illinois Tech and concludes its day at 1:00 PM against St. Mary's (Ind.).