TOWSON, Md. - The Towson University volleyball team battled back from a 1-0 deficit for a 3-1 victory at Delaware on Friday evening in Colonial Athletic Association play. The Tigers (22-3, 9-0 CAA) swept the season series from the Blue Hens (12-13, 6-3 CAA) and extended their win streak to 15 straight with the victory.
"This was a match where we had one of our weakest starts and one of our strongest finishes," said Towson coach Bruce Atkinson. "With five hitters in double digit kills and five players in double digit digs, it was a total team effort."
The first set was a back and forth affair between the two rivals. The two squads battled through 17 ties and three lead changes before a victor emerged. Tied at 12-12, the two squads battled for each point as neither team was able to take a lead of more than a point and the teams found themselves knotted at 23-23. Alissa Alker had a kill and the Blue Hens recorded a block to take the first set, 25-23.
Delaware continued its hot play to start the second set, as the home team jumped out to an 11-1 advantage. The Tigers used a 14-7 run to pull to within 18-15 in the set. That run forced a Delaware timeout and following the break in action, Towson scored five of the next seven points to tie the match at 20-20. The Tigers went on to score five of the final seven points in the set to earn a 25-22 win and tie the match at 1-1. Seniors I'ishah Keliikoa and Marta Machos each had a pair of kills during that final run to help the Tigers secure the set victory.
The third set saw the two squads battling for each point again, as there were 12 ties and five lead changes. Towson and Delaware found themselves tied at 21-21. The Tigers used kills from Keliikoa and junior Katy Buck to take a 23-21 advantage. The Blue Hens pulled to within 24-22 on a kill from Alker before Towson secured the set victory on a kill from senior Alysha McCreary.
The Tigers came out hot to start the fourth set as a kill from Buck made it 15-7 in favor of the visitors and a kill from senior Karolina Sawaniewicz extended that advantage to 20-9. The Tigers secured a 25-13 win in the set and a 3-1 victory in the match on an attack error by the Blue Hens.
Buck and Keliikoa led the Tigers' offensive attack with 14 kills each. Buck added 13 kills for her eighth "double-double" of the year while Keliikoa hit .650 for the match with a pair of blocks. Senior Aubrey Kirven had a "double-double" in the contest with 57 assists and 11 digs. Sophomore Aniris Fernandez led the Tigers' defensive efforts with a career-high 15 digs.
Alker led Delaware with 12 kills and 13 digs while Mackenzie Olsen had 43 assists and six digs.
The Tigers look to maintain their win streak and potentially clinch the top spot in the CAA standings on Sunday, Nov. 4 when they travel to Georgia State for a 1 p.m. match.