Valdosta State’s volleyball team split two matches on the first day of the Lynn Invitational on Friday.

The Blazers improved to 5-1 with a sweep of Clark Atlanta (25-15, 25-12, 25-16), but lost to Florida Southern (25-18, 25-22, 25-13).

Freshman Nikki McDaniel led the team in kills on the day with 19. Senior Katie Onushko had 14 kills of her own, while another freshman, Kelsey Kovar, was right on her heels with 12. Tania Tauiliili added 11 kills in the middle.

Chelsea Luttfring has been impressive in the back to start the season, and her solid play continued Friday. She tallied 26 digs. Krista Bradford, McDaniel and Ashley Lala added nine digs apiece.

Hope Ripsam gave out 27 assists, while Lala had 26. Lala had four service aces and Ripsam had three.

The first match of the day was an easy victory for Valdosta State. The strong defense of the Blazers held Clark Atlanta to a minus-.069 attacking percentage and a whopping minus-.304 in the third set. Meanwhile, VSU finished just under .300 for the match, and struck a .379 in the second set, racking up 16 kills and just five errors for the second time in the match.

McDaniel knocked down 12 kills, while Onushko added nine. Kover struck eight and Tauiliili earned seven points on kills. Kovar finished the first match with just one error in 15 total attacks for an impressive attacking percentage of .467. Tauiliili was at .385, while Onushko and McDaniel finished the opening match at .375 and .364, respectively.

Ripsam and Lala each gave out 15 assists in the match, while Luttfring tallied nine digs. McDaniel added four, while Lala dug up three. No other Blazer had more than two in the match.

The second match of the day was a different story. McDaniel still paced the Blazers on offense, but with just seven kills. Onushko had five, while three others had four. For the match, VSU had a .086 attacking percentage and was a season low .000 in the first set.

Florida Southern’s Kate Stromberg led the Moccasins with 16 kills on a .343 attacking percentage. The Mocs also blocked 10 balls at the net, while VSU could only muster three.

Luttfring, getting plenty of work defensively, had 17 digs. No other Blazer had more than seven. Two Mocs were in double digits. Meanwhile, Lala and Ripsam combined for 23 assists, with Ripsam having the edge, 12-11.

Valdosta State will look to rebound with matches against Assumption and host Lynn at 2 and 7 p.m. on Saturday.

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