TOWSON, Md. – Junior Saitaua Iosia and sophomore Haley Pa’akaula combined for 30 kills to lead the Towson University volleyball team to a 3-1 win over Coppin State in the Tigers’ home opener Tuesday night. The match also marked the opening of SECU Arena, the new home of the Tigers (2-3).
“It was fantastic tonight to open this great building,” said Towson coach Don Metil. “Our setting is getting more consistent; we played cleaner volleyball as the match went on.”
The first set proved to be a close one as the two teams battled through 13 ties and six lead changes. Towson trailed 19-17 to Coppin State (1-3) before an attack error and a service ace from sophomore Kelsey Polak tied the set. The two squads traded points and found themselves tied at 23-23. A kill from freshman Lindsay Flaherty and an attack error by the Eagles gave the Tigers a 25-23 win. The second set proved to be Coppin State’s strongest of the match as the Eagles hit .357. The visitors battled the Tigers through eight ties and four lead changes before claiming the 30-28 set win and tying the match at 1-1.
The Tigers came out of the set break rejuvenated and had their best hitting set of the night, turning in a .344 hitting percentage. Tied at 9-9, the Tigers scored 11 of the next 14 points to take a 20-12 lead and forced a Coppin State timeout. Towson went on to earn the 25-15 set win and took a 2-1 lead in the match. The Tigers trailed 14-12 in the fourth set before they used an 8-3 run to take a 20-17 lead. The two teams continued to battle before a kill from Flaherty gave the Tigers a 25-20 set win and a 3-1 victory in the match.
Towson, which won its second straight contest, got a season-high 18 kills from Iosia. She added six service aces and nine digs in the match. Pa’akaula finished with a career-high 12 kills while Polak posted a career-high 43 assists. Junior Paige Sekerak contributed a season-high 21 digs while Flaherty had seven kills, two service aces, four digs and a match-high five blocks.
Cindy Okpegbue led Coppin State with 17 kills while Chelsee Sauni had 39 assists and 12 digs. Gabrielle Otero contributed a match-high 25 digs.
Towson returns to action when the N.C. State Tournament kicks off on Friday, Sept. 6. The Tigers battle Binghamton in day one action at 4 p.m.