Wheeling, W. Va. – It’s tournament season, and the University of Wheeling Volleyball team (4-4, 0-0) has traveled the circuit playing both at the West Florida Invitational and at the University of Indianapolis Invitational during the first two weeks of the season. Now they are returning home for the first time in 2021 as they prepare to host the Atlantic region crossover at the Alma Grace McDonough Center on Friday and Saturday.
The Cardinals are expected to play four games in the two-day tournament, against Bloomsburg, Slippery Rock, Millersville and Calrion University. This will be the first time the Cardinals have taken their land since the first round of the Mountain East Conference tournament on March 9.e, 2021. The girls are looking to keep Indianapolis’ momentum going when they beat Ashland University 3-2 in their final game of the tournament. Overall, they have gone 2-2 in all four games, including their first sweep of the season.
Leading the way in Indianapolis was a freshman Riley kindall (Westerville, OH./Westerville Central HS) who recorded a team-high 51 kills during the tournament. Her best game came in the final match against Ashland, where she set a new personal best with 20 kills in the game. She is establishing herself as one of Wheeling’s best forwards and we will be relying on her throughout the tournament. Fellow freshman Maddy Winters (New Martinsville, WV./Magnolia HS) has also impressed this season and is second with 62 kills this season.
On the defensive side of the ball, the seniors Audrey Francois (Sidney, OH./Fairlawn) supports 186 digs and is averaging 6.00 digs per set so far this season. The four-time Mountain East Conference Libero of the Year is currently MEC’s second this season in digs. She has been instrumental in the success of this team over the years and is considered a leader for this year’s team. Karly niesen (Cincinnati, OH./Roger Bacon) is leading the way with 340 assists this season and doing a great job preparing his batters.
Now Wheeling is returning to his field and looking to put on a show in front of his home fans. Wheeling was undefeated at home last season and is hopeful that that success will continue into the 2021 season and lead to more success and a chance for the Cardinals to defend the MEC Championship for the eighth consecutive year.
Clarion: The Cardinals and Golden Eagles have faced each other 18 times in their history, with Wheeling going 17-1 in those games. Their last match was on September 20e, 2019, in a game Wheeling would sweep 3-0. Wheeling has won the last 12 straight games against Clarion and has swept the Golden Eagles in the last three clashes, having not lost a set since September 15.e, 2017.
Bloomsburg: The Cardinals and Huskies have never faced each other before and will meet for the first time on Friday night at 5 p.m. The Huskies are 5-3 in their first eight games of the season and are back on the field for the first time since 2019. In that 2019 season, Bloomsburg ended up going 10-22. and is looking for a rebound season in 2021..
Slippery Rock: The Cardinals and Rock have faced each other 14 times since the 2002 season, and Wheeling has won every game, going 14-0. They haven’t lost a set to Slippery Rock since 2011, winning 25 straight sets in that span. Their last match was on September 21st, 2019, and Wheeling swept Slippery Rick in that 3-0 game.
Millersville: Millersville and Wheeling first faced each other during the 2019 season in a game the Cardinals won 3-0. After playing a competitive 25-21 set to start things off, Wheeling put the pedal to the metal at the end and won the final two sets 25-15 and 25-16. Wheeling looks to continue that success in the second clash between these two teams.
The first game of the Atlantic Region Crossover kicks off at 1 p.m. Friday, when Wheeling takes on Clarion University. You can watch the match live by clicking HERE and follow the statistics live by clicking HERE.