MILWAUKEE – The first ever Blue Angels Bash began today at the Bloechl Center. The six-team tournament spanning over two days saw six matches on Friday evening, two of which the Blue Angels battled. The Blue Angels (0-5) lost the tourney's opener against Silver Lake (1-2) in a five-match back-and-forth style affair, then the Blue Angels closed out their day with a 3-0 match-loss to Eureka (2-1).
In the first match for the Blue Angels, MMU jumped out early with newcomer Brianna Ecker (Jr./Butler, Wis.) behind the service line. With Ecker behind the line, MMU rattled off an early 4-0 lead above Silver Lake. Slowly, but steadily the Lakers nipped away and tied the score 19-19. Then SLC claimed the set on a 6-3 run to end the frame.
The Lakers took the second set after collecting 11 team kills on 37 total attacks. The Blue Angels logged seven team kills of their own, but the Lakers sparked late in the frame with a 7-1 run that gave them the 25-17 set-victory and the 2-0 lead in the match.
It seemed that the Lakers would just repeat their first two sets after getting a 6-0 lead to start the third set. Senior Alessa Nelson (Rockford, Ill.) began a comeback for the Blue Angels, which cut the SLC lead 8-6. The teams kept the score within three points until MMU tied things at 19-19. After the Lakers ended the first set on a 6-3 run, MMU end the third in the same fashion taking the third set.
The fourth frame saw the Blue Angels again on the attack. The two teams traded leads early on, until the Blue Angels tied things at 20-20 and then rattled off five of the last eight points in the set to tie the match 2-2. The Blue Angels landed with 11 team kills on 42 team attacks in the fourth.
Adrianna Nester (Sr./Anaheim, Calif.) service ace helped MMU jumped out to a quick 4-1 lead in the final set against the Lakers. The Blue Angels carried that to a 12-8 lead, but the Lakers then went on a 6-0 run to capture the lead late. The Blue Angels tied things up at 14-14, then pushed extra points. After an attack error by SLC, MMU was up 18-17. The Lakers were able to land the next three points consecutively to take the extra-point victory in the fifth.
Nelson led the Blue Angels with 10 kills. Teammate Brianna Ecker led the team with 25 assists and five service aces to go with her eight kills.
The Blue Angels took on Eureka in their final match of the day. The Blue Angels took the early 1-0 lead, but the Red Devils came back quickly to take the 7-3 lead. With Eureka up 14-11, Adrianna Nester fired a timely kill to the floor of her opponent to cut the deficit to two. The Red Devils slowly added to their lead and despite MMU's 10 team kills, Eureka captured the first frame 25-17.
Eureka continued to hit with precision in the next frame. After collecting a .158 killing percentage in the first, the Red Devils continued to add each set. In the second, Eureka smacked 11 team kills with five errors on 31 attacks. The accurate hitting led to EC taking the set 25-11 and an early 2-0 lead in the match.
In the final set, the Red Devils continued to apply their pressure on offense. The Blue Angels responded by hitting five team kills of their own, but Eureka finished with their most accurate set of the night smashing 12 kills on 28 total attacks. That led to a 25-16 set-win and the over match-victory for the Red Devils.
Nester led the Blue Angels charge in the second match with a team high eight kills. While Ecker again led with 13 assists, libero Lauren Nylund (So./Muskego, Wis.) helped her team with a team leading 12 digs.
The Blue Angels will return to action tomorrow with day-two of the Blue Angels Bash. First match for the Blue Angels is scheduled for Sat. Sept. 7 at 10:00 am against Iowa Wesleyan. Beloit will take on Eureka College for the day's opening match at 9:30 am. Live stats and video can be found here.