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Cumberland hands HU first loss

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LIMA, Ohio – The Forester volleyball team’s perfect start finally came to an end Friday afternoon as a talented Cumberland University (TN) squad upended HU 3-1 in the final game of day one of the UNOH Silver Spike Tournament.

HU’s first loss came on the heels of a gritty 3-1 win over Grace College earlier in the day. Last year’s Crossroads League clash between these two teams resulted in a split as the Lancers outlasted HU 3-2 in the first go around but it was sweet revenge for the Foresters in the second half of conference play as they swept their neighbors to the northwest 3-0.

“Staying competitive with teams around us and teams within our conference has been priority one for us,” commented Coach Shondell. “Back to back wins over Taylor and Grace are huge in that regard.”

On this given day in non-conference action, it took four sets, 25-20, 21-25, 25-21, 25-23, for Huntington to extend their win streak to two over their league foes. Danielle Gurwell was a force to be reckoned with in the middle as she finished with ten kills and a .714 hitting percentage to go along with two solo blocks.

“Danielle is as intelligent of a hitter as our league has so sometimes it's just fun to watch her go to work,” said Shondell.

Gurwell had plenty of help offensively as Paige Eakright and Josie Beaver each recorded nine kills while Audrey Mallers added eight. As has been case so far this season, Emily Hubby and Breanna Levings shared setting responsibilities to finish with 23 and 22 assists respectively. Hubby also logged 18 digs in the win.

Against the Bulldogs, the Foresters struggled in the opening set to the tune of a 25-16 loss before bouncing back to win set two 25-20. They would keep it close the rest of the way but came up short both times, 25-19, 25-22.

Eakright and Mallers paced Huntington offensively with nine and seven kills respectively while Kate Cobb collected 22 digs to set the tone defensively. Behind two blocks from Gurwell, the Foresters were also solid at the net defensively as they out-blocked Cumberland 10-6. HU committed an uncharacteristic eight serving errors to UC’s nine.  

The Foresters (5-1) are back at it on Saturday to take on Purdue Northwest and the host Racers on day two of the UNOH tourney.

The Huntington University Foresters compete in 17 intercollegiate sports for men and women. In the past decade, Huntington has produced 38 NAIA All-America honors and 254 All-America Scholar Athlete honors. Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S. News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest.