ROCHESTER, MI – Toledo utilized a balanced attack on Saturday afternoon to conclude the Golden Grizzlies Invitational with a 3-2 (25-16, 25-21, 21-25, 24-26, 15-10) triumph over Eastern Illinois. Both teams wrapped up the weekend with 2-4 win-loss marks.
"Even though we didn't come away with two victories today, I thought we made a lot of progress," said Toledo Head Coach Greg Smith whose team dropped a 3-1 decision to Iowa this morning. "We're starting to connect with our outsides as well as blocking the ball lot better. We can definitely build on this as we begin to prepare for next weekend's Rocket Classic."
Four different Rockets registered double-digit kill totals with juniors Jordan Kielty, Lauren Rafdal and Becca Reidy each tallying a team-high 15 terminations. Junior MB Dakota Harkins also was in double figures with 13 in addition to a team-high .409 attack percentage and four blocks.
Harkins' and Rafdal's play this weekend earned the duo a spot on the all-tournament team.
Sophomore MB Brooke Frazer excelled at the net defensively for a second-straight match, contributing seven blocks after tying her career high with eight rejections against the Hawkeyes this morning.
Toledo outhit the Panthers, .211-.157, and also held a slim advantage in digs, 74-72. Freshman Celina Diaz played a key role in that defensive showing with 10 digs after senior libero McCall Paynter was forced to the sideline due to injury following the second set.
"Celina came in off the bench when we needed her to and did a great job," Smith said. "McCall's back was hurting, and it was good to see Celina come in off the bench and contribute. It takes an entire team to win, and that's what we had today."
The Rockets were able to take control of the fifth set with a 5-1 spurt to take an 11-8 advantage forcing EIU to burn both of its timeouts. The closest the Panthers came the rest of the way was three points.
UT returns to action next weekend when it hosts its 11th-annual Rocket Classic on Sept. 7-8. Toledo will host Memphis on Friday at 7:00 p.m. and Illinois State and Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday at Noon and 7:30 p.m., respectively.