Double figure kills were a common theme for the Milwaukee women’s volleyball team Saturday, as the Panthers bounced back for a 3-2 win over host Western Michigan in the final match of the Holiday Inn West Invitational in Kalamazoo.
Milwaukee began things strong with a kill by Kylie Wilks that provided the Panthers a 12-7 lead before aces by Bridget Wallenberger and Jenn Dore paced the lead to 19-11. Western Michigan made an attempt at a comeback but were shut down on a kill from Caitlin Schultz.
Things were tougher for the Panthers in the second set, as the Broncos would tie things up. However, UW-Milwaukee reclaimed their winning ways in the third set. Despite falling behind 10-6 early on, the Panthers regrouped, tying it all up at 14-14 following a kill from Jess Kalous. A 9-2 run sealed the set for the Panthers.
Western Michigan continued to demonstrate their willingness not to give up, forcing a fifth set. However, the Panthers would not break. After trailing again early, Milwaukee scored five of the next six points and grabbed an 8-7 lead at the switch. The score would even itself at 15-all, but two huge kills from Wilks and Schultz ended the match and made the Panthers victorious.
“I’m very proud of how well the team responded today,” Milwaukee head coach Susie Johnson said. “Our goal today was to be more aggressive and we were very successful in that area.”
Freshman Bridget Wallenberger led UWM on the day with 13 kills, while Caitlin Schultz (12), Jess Kalous (11) and Maddie Williams (10) all also etched double digits on the day.
Jenn Dore led the offense with 42 assists.
Myanna Ruiz, who was named to the all-tournament team following the match — added another 18 digs to lead all Panthers. This is the third consecutive weekend Ruiz has been named to an all-tournament team to start the season.
Following two weeks on the road, the Panthers return to Milwaukee next weekend for a tournament hosted by cross-town rival Marquette. The action begins on Friday with a 4 p.m. contest against Missouri State before a Saturday matchup against the host Golden Eagles. The match will be televised on Time Warner Cable Sports Channel at 1 p.m.