By Chris Schmidbauer, Sports Information Director
Toledo, OH -- As the Owens Volleyball program enters the final month of the 2019-20 regular season, the Express put the finishing touches on another busy week of play. Owens began the week with a midweek match at home against Lakeland, before hitting the road Thursday to Hickory, NC, to participate in the Catawba Valley Invitational. The Express had another productive week, winning four of their five matches.
Match #1: Owens 3 Lakeland 0
The Express played a midweek tilt on Wednesday against Lakeland at the SHAC, and they made quick work of the Lakers. Owens won 25-12, 25-15, and 25-15 to beat Lakeland in a straight set victory.
Tyriana Settles began the week off with a bang, playing exceptional at the net and in the back row for the Express. She led the team in kills with 18, while she also added ten digs from the back row. Also dominant off the back row was Olivia Materni, who returned from an injury this week. Materni led the team with 13 digs in the match. Like she has all season, Rebecca Brown racked up the assists, tallying 39 of the team's 40 total assists for the match against Lakleland. Sophomore Kayla Bekier was also strong on the attack, finishing with nine kills.
Match #2: Owens 3 Spartanburg Methodist 1
The Express would open the Catawba Valley Invitational on Friday morning, where the faced off against Division I Spartanburg Methodist. Owens would lead in the first set before the Pioneers would come back to take the opening frame 25-22. The Express would respond though. They would win the next three sets 25-18, 25-13, and a tense 25-22 in set number four.
The Express would finish with three players in double digit kills for the match. Tyriana Settles led the team with 18, while Kayla Bekier would add 12 kills and Semira Neely would net 11 more. Olivia Materni would turn in another baker's dozen from the back row in digs, while Rebecca Brown dominated in the assists column once more with 41. Neely also would add six blocks to her stat line for the match against the Pioneers.
Match #3: Owens 3 Catawba Valley 1
The Express would have little time to rest as they faced the invitational's hosts next in Catawba Valley. The Red Hawks came into the match as the No. 3 ranked team in Division II. Just like they did in their first match of the day, Owens dropped the opening set 25-20. Owens would storm back in the second set, winning 25-17. Both teams would dig in for a tense final two sets of the match. Owens would be up 23-18 late, before the Red Hawks would make things interesting in the third set. CVCC would tie things up ar 23-23, but after a timeout, the Express would win the set's final two points to win 25-23. The fourth set would be another tense affair. Both teams traded points throughout much of the fourth set, with both teams tied at 22-22, before Owens would take a 24-22 lead. The Red Hawks would take the next two points off of two attacking errors by Owens. After a Tyriana Settles kill, Kayla Bekier would score the match's final point to give Owens a 26-24 win in the set and the match.
Tyriana Settles was a force to be reckoned with at the net in the match. She posted career highs in kills (24) and attacking percentage (.750) in the match. Kayla Bekier would add 12 more kills to her total for the day, while freshman Arielle Snider would play well with 11 kills for the match and an attacking percentage of .846. Rebecca Brown would add a career high in assists with 54 in the match, while Olivia Materni (11 digs) and Raelyn Hutchison (10 digs) would lead in the back defensively. Snider would also finish with a team high four blocks at the net for the Express.
Match #4: Owens 3 Northern Virginia (NOVA) 1
Owens would begin the second day of the CVCC Invitational with a match against NOVA from Division II. The Express wasted little time, dominating the Nighthawks in a straight set victory to begin the day on Saturday. Owens won 25-15, 25-7, and 25-12.
Tyriana Settles led the Express with 14 kills in the match, while Kayla Bekier would add ten kills on the attack. Olivia Materni would finish with ten digs in the match, and per usual, Rebecca Brown was an assists machine, finishing with 34. Arielle Snider would finish with five blocks in the match, and Settles and Materni would each of three service aces.
Match #5: Wallace State 3 Owens 0
The final match of the week was against another Division I opponent, undefeated and No. 12 ranked Wallace State. While Owens would be competitive in all three sets, the Lions were too much for the Express as they fell in straight sets 25-20, 25-17, and 25-17.
Owens would finish the week at 27-4 overall and 10-0 in the OCCAC. Owens will have a critical week of OCCAC play on tap for this week. The Express would play three road matches with matches against the second and fourth place teams in the conference. The Express will play at Cuyahoga on Wednesday, before heading south for the weekend. Owens will play No. 3 Columbus State on Friday night before taking on Hocking College on Saturday morning. The Express have just six regular season matches left with all being in conference play.
- It was announced on Monday afternoon that Owens is ranked #1 again in the NJCAA Division III Volleyball poll. Owens had been ranked #2 for a few week before retaking the sport over Rochester.
- Tyriana Settles won Division III OCCAC Player of the Week for the third time this season. Settles had won the weeks of August 28th and September 16th previously.