By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
POST MATCH VIDEO
Champaign, Ill.---The No. 5 Owens Community College volleyball team suffered a tough straight set loss to No. 2 Parkland College this morning, but bounced back to pick up a straight set win over Rend Lake College to close its slate in this weekend's Parkland Invitational.
Owens is now 17-3 overall. They have won 13 of the past 14 matches and will be back in action on the road at Edison Community College at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.
Match 1: No. 2 Parkland d. No. 5 Owens 25-17, 25-8, 25-9
The No. 2 team in the nation and defending national champion, Parkland College, showed its experience in today's first match by defeating Owens in straight sets.
With the victory, Parkland has now won eight straight against Owens, and all have come in straight sets. The last Owens win over Parkland came on Sept. 26, 2010. In addition, Parkland has now won 23 straight matches and 28 straight sets this year. Their last loss to a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II team was around 22 months ago - to Glendale Community College in the 2014 NJCAA Division II national championship match. They are 27-1 overall.
Owens, meanwhile, had its 12 match winning streak come to an end in the loss, and their streak of 23 straight set wins also ended.
Parkland seemed to stay in control early in the match despite it being close. They never trailed, but Tyanna Smith's (Bowling Green/Bowling Green, Ohio) kill off a Carrigan Gray (Liberty-Benton/Findlay, Ohio) pass knotted the set at 10 apiece.
Following that, Parkland scored the next five points, two on Owens errors and the next three on kills, to take control of the set despite Owens answering with back-to-back kills from Smith and Ashley Pleiman (Fort Loramie/Fort Loramie, Ohio). Parkland led by as many as nine twice down the stretch before closing the set with a kill from the right side.
The momentum carried over into the second set as Parkland scored the first three points before Smith's right side kill. Parkland then scored the next four points to take a 7-1 lead and force an Owens timeout. Then, they gradually increased the lead. Following a Pleiman kill from the left side off a Christine Tylutki (Monroe/Monroe, Mich.) pass that pulled Owens within eight, Parkland scored the final nine points of the set.
Tylutki gave Owens its first lead of the match with a right side kill for the first point of the third set. The teams exchanged points until an attack from Pleiman's attack was blocked to give Parkland a 3-2 lead. From there, Parkland never trailed, although the first half of the set was close.
Annie Lindeman (Ottoville/Ottoville, Ohio) and Devon Heitkamp (New Bremen/New Bremen, Ohio) teamed up on a block to pull Owens within one at 7-6, but Parkland scored the next nine straight and 18 of the next 21 points to close the match.
Owens struggled offensively most of the match and finished with a .000 hitting percentage, although Pleiman and Heitkamp each had a team-high six kills. Heitkamp even hit. 364. Tylutki had a team-high 10 assists, and Gray added nine. Brooke Gyori (Clay/Oregon, Ohio) had 10 digs, and Erika Angstmann (St. Mary's Memorial/St. Mary's, Ohio) added seven. As a team, Owens had nine assisted blocks, led by three from Heitkamp. Smith had an assisted block and the team's lone solo block.
Match 2: No. 5 Owens d. Rend Lake College 25-13, 25-15, 25-8
Pleiman led a solid offensive attack in today's second match to give the Owens volleyball team a 3-1 record this weekend.
The sophomore middle blocker/outside hitter smashed a team-high 11 kills while hitting .500. Meanwhile, Angstmann (9 kills, .438), Tylutki (7 kills, .375) Smith (7 kills, .636) and Heitkamp (7 kills, .417) contributed to an offense that produced 44 kills and hit .463. Overall, seven players had at least one kill.
In the first set, both teams went back and forth, which led to a 10-9 advantage for Owens. From that point, Pleiman picked a kill from the left side, which was her third of the set at that point. From there, Owens never led by fewer than three points. Pleiman's fifth kill of the set put Owens up six. Later, back-to-back kills from Heitkamp put Owens up 20-12 before cruising to the win.
Similar to the first set, Rend Lake opened the scoring in the second. They actually led for the first 13 points in the set until Owens tied it up at seven. The set remained close as a Rend Lake kill pulled them within 13-12, but Owens closed the set on a 12-3 run, which was capped by a kill through the block from Smith, another kill from Pleiman and a Smith-Pleiman block.
The third set was all Owens. They scored four of the first five points, highlighted by kills from Smith and Tylutki. The lead became 10-5 following an ace from Niki Polce (Huron/New Boston, Mich.). Following that, Owens scored five straight to take a 19-7 lead. That run was capped by a Pleiman kill from the right side off a pass from Tylutki.
A service error gave Rend Lake a point to stop the rally, but Owens scored the set's final six points, and four came after Rend Lake's final timeout. Angstmann started the run with an ace and a right side kill, Smith followed with a right side kill, Pleiman had a kill down the middle, Angstmann followed with an ace, and then a Lindeman-Smith block ended the match.
Gray finished with a team-high 19 assists, along with six digs. Tylutki chipped in 18 assists, eight digs and three blocks. Gyori (17) and Polce (10) led the team in digs, although Angstmann joined Tylutki with adding eight apiece. Smith had a team-high four blocks, while Heitkamp joined Tylutki by adding three blocks. Heitkamp had the team's lone solo block.
This weekend's matches were aired live on our Periscope account instead of our YouTube page due to IT permission issues at Parkland College. We will be uploading each of the four matches to our YouTube page, however, asap.
With her 27 digs today, Gyori has now recorded at least 10 digs in eight straight and nine of her past 10 matches. In fact, there's only been five matches out of the team's 20 that she hasn't reached double digits, and she has nine apiece in each of those.
Polce recorded her eighth match with at least 10 digs in the Rend Lake match.
Tylutki now has 14 straight matches with at least 10 assists, five digs and four kills. She eclipsed 200 career kills this weekend and now has 223 along with a .357 hitting percentage this year, and she is just two digs away from 500 in her career.
Pleiman's 11 kill match was her eighth this year with double digits and just two off her season high. She eclipsed 200 career kills this afternoon, as well.
Smith led Owens defensively at the net this weekend as the sophomore produced a team-high 20 blocks. She is now averaging four blocks per match this year and is just 13 away from matching her total from all of last year. She has 173 in her career, and she also still leads the team in hitting percentage at .382.
After opening the weekend by hitting -.100, Heitkamp's final three matches included hitting percentages of .600, .364 and .417. She had 20 kills during that span with at least six in each match, while also adding 12 blocks this weekend.