FAIRMONT — Fairmont State volleyball picked up a historic win over Wheeling University in match two of Tuesday’s Mountain East Conference doubleheader by becoming the first MEC program to defeat the Cardinals since the conference formed in 2013.
Fairmont State snapped Wheeling’s regular-season conference winning streak of 219-straight matches that dates back to Sept. 9, 2008. The 219-straight conference wins is an NCAA Division II record. Wheeling was 115-0 in MEC matches prior to Tuesday night.
After a heartbreaking 3-2 defeat in the first match of the doubleheader, Fairmont State started fast in the nightcap and quickly grabbed a 2-0 lead after a 25-16 win in set one, and a 25-21 victory in set two. WU regrouped and extended the match with a 25-16 win in set three.
In set four with Fairmont State leading 22-17, Wheeling would take five of the next six points to pull the Cardinals to within a point at 23-22. The Cardinals got two kills from Kayla Bekier during the stretch and were also aided by a pair of FSU attack errors. However, Fairmont State put the match away with back-to-back points, including a kill from Julia DiPaola and a block solo by Amelia Moore to clinch the fourth set and the 3-1 win.
Fairmont State was strong on the attack in match two, recording a .253 attacking percentage with 64 kills and just 16 errors.
The Falcons used a balanced attack in the win with 18 kills and nine blocks from Taylor Wisniewski, 15 kills and 18 digs from DiPaola, 11 kills, eight digs and five blocks from Keara Lewis, and 10 kills and three total blocks from Moore.
Fairmont State setter Lilianna Keber set a new career-high in the victory with 60 assists. Keber also tallied 11 digs to finish the match with a double-double — her fifth of the season. Bryce Knapp finished the nightcap with 21 digs, and Madison Chapman added 13 more for the Falcons.
In the 3-1 victory, Fairmont State held a commanding 16-5 advantage in total blocks.
Wheeling had three players reach double-figure kills in the match, including 17 from Bekier and 12 from Allonda Watkins.
In the first match of the day the Falcons and Cardinals traded sets with Wheeling winning sets one and three, and Fairmont State taking sets two and four. The Cardinals put the match away with a 15-12 win in set five. Wheeling took three of the final four points in the fifth set.
Wheeling had a .201 attacking percentage and held a 15-7 advantage in total blocks during the early contest. Fairmont State managed just a .127 attacking percentage with 33 errors in the narrow defeat.
DiPaola also led the Falcons in the early match with 14 kills to go with 16 digs, while Moore drove home 13 more kills for the Falcons. Wisniewski finished the match with 10 kills and four total blocks.
Keber passed out 44 assists in match one to lead the Fairmont State offense, while Knapp notched 25 digs.
Bekier paced Wheeling with 18 kills in the win. Lexi Reinert also had a big performance for the Cardinals with 11 kills and six total blocks.
The Falcons will now be idle until Feb. 23 when they travel to South Euclid to take on Notre Dame College. Opening serve is set for 7 p.m.