GALESBURG, Ill. - For the third straight weekend, the RU volleyball team will be playing four matches in two days at the Knox College Tournament. The Regents opened the tournament on Friday with matches against Monmouth College and MacMurray College. Although Rockford was unable to win either, the ladies played well in both, including taking the Highlanders to five sets.
Rockford began the day with a three-set match against the Monmouth College Fighting Scots. After dropping the opening set 25-11, Rockford began to turn things around and played very well in sets two and three. The Regents and Fighting Scots battled back and forth in the second set, but unfortunately it was Monmouth who came out on top 27-25 to take a 2-0 lead. Rockford would again give Monmouth all it could handle in the third set, but came up just short falling 25-19 to give the Fighting Scots a 3-0 win. The trio of Jessica Diaz (Bolingbrook, Ill.), Emily Johannes (Eau Claire, Wis.) and Kaylynne Terry (Streator, Ill.) spearheaded the Rockford attack. Diaz played especially well smashing a team-high 9 kills on 20 attempts for a .350 hitting percentage. She rounded out her day with at the time a season-high 11 digs. Johannes and Terry each finished with 8 kills, while Johannes also added a season-high 19 digs. Sophomore setter Kayla Barthels (Fort Worth, Texas) again did a nice job directing the RU offense, tallying 29 assists and 8 digs. Defensively Jennifer Quintas (Rockford, Ill.) finished with a match-high 20 digs.
The Regents' second match of the day was an exciting five-set affair against the MacMurray College Highlanders. After leading early in the first set, Rockford fell behind and appeared to be in a world of trouble trailing 21-15. However, the Regents would not be denied running off 10 straight points, 9 of which came off the serve of Kayla Barthels, to take the first set 25-21. Rockford again got off to a fast start in the second set taking an early 8-3 lead. However, the Highlanders once again came roaring back to tie the set and would eventually take the lead. The two schools then traded points for the remainder of the set with MacMurray holding a 23-21 advantage down the stretch. Again it was Rockford's will and determination that made the difference as the Regents scored the final four points to win the set 25-23 and take a 2-0 lead. Unfortunately the Highlanders took sets three and four to even the match at 2-2 and force a fifth-set tiebreaker. The final set was close throughout as the largest lead came when MacMurray had a trio of match points at 14-11. However the Regents were up to the task, spoiling all three match points to tie it up at 14-14. Rockford would ruin yet another Highlander match point before taking a 16-15 lead to give the Regents their first match point of the day. However it was not meant to be, as the Highlanders scored the final three points of the evening to take the set 18-16 and the match 3-2.
Offensively the Regents were led by Emily Johannes, Maddison Hiland (Bellevue, Iowa) and Kaylynne Terry. Johannes tied her season-high with 14 kills and also recorded a season-high 21 digs. Hiland finished with 8 kills and 4 digs, while Terry had 7 kills and 6 digs. Barthels again played well tallying 34 assists and 10 digs for her third double-double of the year. Jennifer Quintas and August Guest (Lahaina, Hawaii) each hit the double-digit plateau for digs recording 24 and 10 respectively.
The RU volleyball team returns to the court on Saturday for a pair of matches against Knox and Dubuque starting at 9 AM.