SSU VB sneaks past Campbellsville

In a thrilling victory that could very well mark the turning point of its season, the volleyball program at Shawnee State University obtained 13 kills and 13 digs from Macie Rhoads, a combined six-and-a half blocks from Bella Gill and Nashail Shelby, 25 digs from Stacia Martin, and 18 assists, 14 digs, and 11 kills from Maria Kolinoff in a thrilling 3-1 victory (25-18, 21-25, 26-24, 25-21) over (RV) Campbellsville on Monday evening at Frank and Janis Waller Gymnasium.

The Bears, who also got a big 21-assist, 16-dig effort from Alissa Kefauver, were tremendous on the defensive end of the floor as Shawnee State held Campbellsville to a scant .044 attack percentage while hitting .146 themselves. MSC Attacker of the Week Sutton Mason was held to a -.083 attack percentage and had just five kills for the match behind outstanding net play from Shawnee State, who tallied nine blocks over the course of the match.

From the opening volley, Shawnee State wasted no time getting down to business as the Bears, after giving up the opening volley to Campbellsville, went on a 9-2 run to take a 9-3 lead behind two kills from Gill. Shawnee State’s lead was never trimmed down to any less than four from then on out as four kills from Gill in the opening set, along with five from Kolinoff and a service ace on the 43rd and final volley of the second set, allowed SSU to take a 25-18 first set victory and claim a 1-0 lead in the match.

In the following set, Rhoads took her turn at dominating the net. The sophomore from Circleville, Ohio posted four kills over the second set’s first 24 volleys as Shawnee State rallied from a 5-3 deficit to take the point by utilizing an 11-5 run to take a 14-10 lead.

While Campbellsville used a 6-0 run in the second set to take the point back, 16-14, two kills by Kolinoff led the Bears on a 7-3 resurgence that give SSU the lead, 21-19, at the set’s 40th volley. However, the Tigers, down by just two, stormed back to take the final six points of the set en route to winning the second set by a 25-21 cushion and tying the match at one in the process.

Fueled by its second set victory, Campbellsville stormed out of the gates en route to taking a 5-2 lead in the second set to put the pressure on SSU early. However, as they did all evening long, the Bears responded admirably, as kills by Gill and Alexis Palazzo allowed SSU to go on a 7-1 spurt en route to taking a 9-6 advantage.

Over the remaining 35 volleys of the second set, both teams furiously fought for control as both units showed brilliance in escaping out of trouble on several occasions. On eight separate occasions between the game’s 16th and 31st volleys, the Bears and Tigers either tied or traded the point before Campbellsville ended up with control via a 5-2 run that put the Tigers ahead, 20-17.

With SSU now firmly up against the wall, Susan Shelton’s club found a way out of it.

Down 23-20 at one point in the third frame, back-to-back kills by Shelby and Gill closed SSU within a 23-22 margin. Then, after a kill by Kymbra Kirby — who posted 11 kills on a .421 attack percentage for Campbellsville in the match — to send Campbellsville to set point, the Bears rallied by collecting kills from Kefauver and Rhoads, then taking advantage of an attack error and a setting error by the Tigers en route to not only sending the set to extra volleys, but winning the third set via a 26-24 margin to take a 2-1 set lead in the match.

From there, SSU wasn’t to be denied.

After tying or trading the lead with Campbellsville a dozen times over the fourth set’s first 17 volleys before watching the Tigers grab an 11-9 advantage, SSU stormed back as the Bears went on a monstrous, and match-changing, 10-3 spurt as Martin’s service ace and a kill each from Gill and Rhoads spearheaded the action that put SSU in front by a 19-14 margin in the fourth, and ultimately final, set. Campbellsville never came closer than two points from Shawnee State’s lead from there as the Bears got a pair of kills from Shelby and a spike each from Rhoads and Kefauver to close the deal in the Bears’ favor.

With the win, Shawnee State moved to 3-12 on the season and 1-2 in Mid-South Conference action while Campbellsville fell to 9-4 and 1-1 in Mid-South play. Monday’s win was Shawnee State’s fifth all-time against Campbellsville in its 20th match against the Tigers.

In addition to the above stats, Gill’s eight kills came on a .250 attack percentage while Kolinoff’s 11 spikes came on an efficient .242 attack mark. Alexa Ball continued to add to her solid freshman season with seven digs to help out Martin on the defensive end on the floor as a specialist in that area.

The Bears will turn their attention to Georgetown (6-8, 0-1 MSC) tomorrow evening at 6 p.m. inside Waller Gymnasium in Portsmouth. For more information on SSU Bears Athletics, visit