By Chris Schmidbauer, Sports Information Director
Toledo, OH -- The Owens Volleyball program finished off a critical week of OCCAC matches undefeated, to place them in prime position to claim their fifth straight conference crown. With just three conference contests left, should Owens win one of the three they will clinch at least a share of the conference title.
Match #1: Owens 3 Cuyahoga 0
The Express began play this past week on the road against Tri-C. Owens had beaten the Triceratops 3-0 back at the SHAC on September 11th. Cuyahoga played the Express very closely over the three sets, but Owens was able to come away with the victory. Owens won 25-20, 25-21, and 25-22.
Both Kayla Bekier and Tyriana Settles led the Express in kills with eleven each, while Settles also had the team lead in digs with 13. McKinsey Finnen was terrific in the back row as well, finishing with 11 digs in the match. The Express's star setter, Rebecca Brown, had all 31 of the team's assists. Freshman Arielle Snider would finish with a team high four total blocks for the match, three of which were solo blocks.
Match #2: Owens 3 Columbus State 1
Friday pitted Owens against conference rival Columbus State on the road for the final time of the 2019 regular season. Owens would dominate the opening set against the Cougars winning 25-13 to take a 1-0 lead. Columbus State would storm back to take the second set, 25-20, to tie the match at one set a piece. The Express would claw their way back, taking the third set 25-19 and then winning the match in the fourth 25-20.
Tyriana Settles would finish three kills of her season high (24 kills in a match) with 21 at the net against the Cougars. She was also finished with a kill percentage of .548. Kayla Bekier and Semira Neely were dominant up front too. Bekier finished with 12 kills and a team high seven total blocks in the contest, while Neely finished with 11 kills and six total blocks against the Cougars. Rebecca Brown was an assists machine, racking up 48 of the team's 50 total assists for the match. Olivia Materni, Brown, and McKinsey Finnen would also finish with double digits in digs. Materni has a team high 15 digs, while Brown had 14 and Finnen had 11 total for the match against Columbus State, who came as the No. 3 ranked team in Division III.
Match #3: Owens 3 Hocking 0
Owens would hit the road from the state capitol to travel to Southeast Ohio to face Hocking. The Hawks, who have not won a match this season, struggled in the first two sets but were competitive in the match's final set. Owens won 25-10, 25-9, and 25-19 to sweep Hocking in straight sets.
Tyriana Settles would lead the team in kills with nine, which was just the fifth time she did not have at least 10 kills in a match this season and just the second time in an Owens victory. Freshman Megan Dunne, who was out much of the early part of the year with an injury, finished second on the team with five kills. Rebecca Brown racked up 22 more assists to lead the Express, while Olivia Materni finished with seven digs against Hocking. Brown also had a team high five blocks as well.
With the win over Hocking, the Express now sit at 30-4 overall on the season and 13-0 in the OCCAC with just three conference matches left in the 2019 regular season. Owens has won at least 30 matches every year for the last six seasons.
The Express will play three matches this week, with a doubleheader on Wednesday evening. Owens will host Edison at 6 PM on Wednesday evening followed by a match against Terra State immediately following. Owens will wrap up the home portion of the 2019 regular season on Friday with a match against Clark State at the SHAC. That game is slated for 6 PM as well.
- Owens setter Rebecca Brown had an accolade filled week last week. On Tuesday, Brown was named the OCCAC Player of the Week. On Wednesday she was named the NJCAA Offensive Player of the Week for Division III. Brown averaged nearly 12 assists the previous week and she also was terrific on the attack as well, finishing with 13 kills the previous week too.
- Owens players continue to lead or be ranked at the top of the statistical leaderboards nationally. Tyriana Settles leads the nation in kills with 454 total for the season, and she is ranked fourth nationally in kills per set with 4.17. Settles is ranked eighth in the country in total digs as well with 398, while Olivia Materni is 11th nationally with 385. Rebecca Brown leads the nation in assists with 1,134 total for the season, and she is second in the country in assists per set with 10.04. Finally, Semira Neely ranks in the top 10 of two statistical categories. Neely is third nationally in total blocks with 102, and she is sixth nationally in service aces with 64.
- Sonny Lewis's chase for No. 700 could happen soon. With the win over Hocking, Lewis currently sits at 695 career wins as a coach at Owens. The mark could come as soon the regional tournament.