The Thunder travelled to Decatur, Il. last Friday to compete in the “Linda Slagell Dig For the Cure Tournament” hosted by Millikin University. The Thunder began their tournament on Friday by facing off against Millikin University, currently placed second in the CCIW standings. The Thunder lost all three sets against Millikin. The Thunder kept up with Millikin in the first set, keeping the game tied with a score of 8-8 before Millikin found their stride, scoring nine of the next ten points, finishing the set 25-15. In the second set the Thunder came out with a 0-4 lead before Millikin tied it up 4-4. The Thunder took the lead for the second and last time with a 4-5 lead, ultimately losing the set 25-16. The Thunder took the first point in the final set through an attack error by Millikin, trailing for the remainder of the set, losing 25-15. During the match, sophomore outside hitter Shelby Knowles led the Thunder’s scoring with seven kills, while sophomore setter Ashley Torok tallied two service aces and 13 assists.
The Thunder then went head to head with Simpson college, losing the first set 23-25 before bouncing back to win the next three sets (25-16) (25-12) (25-18). During the match, Knowles and Torok secured two aces each, with Torok making 26 assists and Knowles having 23 digs and earning 13 kills. Senior opposite Andy DeMoss also placed 13 kills and four blocks in the match. The Thunder ended their first day splitting their matches and bringing their season record to 9-17.
The next day, the Thunder began their undefeated day with a match against Blackburn College. Setting the tone for a victorious day, the Thunder dominated the first set, winning by a staggering 15 points. The Thunder continued their impressive lead for the second and third sets as well, winning 25-15 and 25-11. The scoring was led by freshman middle hitter Emily Potts and senior middle hitter Lindsay Stein, who each placed six kills throughout the match followed by freshman middle hitter Brooke Haskins and sophomore opposite Sarah Reiskytl, who landed five and four kills, respectively. Stein also lead the defence by securing five blocks, followed by senior opposite Andy DeMoss picking up three of the final seven blocks.
The Thunder came across a setback to their victorious performance as they found themselves face to face with Dubuque University for their final match in the tournament, losing the first set 23-25. With Brooke Haskins and Ashley Torok paving the way with 21 and 24 assists throughout the match, respectively, the Thunder found their way back on top, winning the next set with a crushing 15 point lead, before settling in to win the next set by six points, and winning the last set at 25-13. Knowles stood out on the offensive end with 17 kills and 18 digs, with both Torok and Knowles each placing two service aces. On the defensive end, freshman outside hitter Katie Rohrer tallied six blocks on top of her five kills.
Overall, the Thunder finished the tournament on Saturday with three wins and one loss, a record streak so far for the Thunder. But they weren’t done with their streak quite yet. On Tuesday night, the Thunder faced off against and defeated Augustana College. This was a key CCIW win for the Thunder, as Augustana walked onto the court with a 20-8 win loss streak, the third highest in the league. After winning their first set 25-23, the Thunder took a disappointing loss of 13-25. After the set, the Thunder pulled together to win the next set by the widest margin the Thunder had seen so far this year, and keeping Augustana to single digits with a 25-9 set. In the final set, the Thunder finished the match up with a 25-16 win.
After the match on Tuesday night, the Thunder find themselves placed third in the CCIW, a season high for the team, with a season high winning streak of four games.