KENNESAW, Ga. (ksuowls.com) – Kennesaw State's Claire Parsons and Dani Ballou shined on Tuesday night, combining for 22 kills in leading the Owls to their third straight win with a 3-0 sweep of Samford in women's college volleyball action from the Convocation Center. The win, which came during Griffin's Game, the Owls' annual fundraiser for a family dealing with childhood cancer, moved KSU to 5-1 overall, while the Bulldogs (3-4) saw their three-game win streak snapped.
This year's Griffin's Game recognized Emily Kate McKinney and her family from Marietta, Ga., and donations are still being accepted to help Emily Kate at ksuowls.com/GriffinsGame.
STAT OF THE GAME: KSU hit over .300 in both of the first two sets, and limited Samford to a .161 hitting percentage (29K-15E-87TA) for the night. The Owls also finished with 46 total kills to 29 for the visitors.
OWL OF THE GAME: Parsons turned in one of the best games of her career, reaching double-figures in kills for the first time since her freshman season with 12, while posting a .632 (12K-0E-19TA) hitting percentage. She also added a team-high four blocks in the victory.
SET ONE: The Owls never trailed in the opening set and led by at least three points for the majority on the way to a 10-point victory. The only negative for KSU in the win were its 11 service errors, which accounted for more than two-thirds of Samford's points in the set. The Owls made up for it by hitting .500 (18K-3E-36TA).
SET TWO: It was a slow start for KSU, as the lead switched hands several times before the visitors scored eight of the next 11 points to claim its largest lead of the night in a set at three, 15-12. An 8-0 spurt from the Owls, which included kills from four different players, put KSU up 20-15 thanks to a kill from Manu Johnsen. Samford didn't go away easily though, coming back to tie the game at 22-22 and 23-23. An error by the Bulldogs and a kill from McKinley Ferguson gave KSU the set and a 2-0 lead.
SET THREE: Momentum was all on KSU's side, as the Owls jumped out to a 12-2 lead and never looked back on the way to the eventual six-point win, thanks to back-to-back kills from Jasmine Brown.
QUOTABLE: "This was a solid win on a special night for our team and this community. At times we were really clean and at other times we had to find some different ways to manufacture points and win a little bit ugly which is a great sign early in the season that we could do that. McKinley set another great match, Claire dominated from the middle and Dani is just playing fantastic volleyball in her senior year.
Thank you so much to everyone who came out to support, bought a T-shirt or donated to Emily Kate and the McKinney family. They need everything we can give them right now and I'm so proud and thankful we can help them in a time of need in their lives." – KSU head coach Keith Schunzel
-The Owls are on a nine-set win streak, having last lost a set in their Aug. 27 3-1 loss at Wake Forest.
-KSU is riding an eight-game home win streak, dating back to the start of the 2021 ASUN season.
-Ballou joined Parsons in double-figures with 10 kills, while adding four aces and four digs.
-Ferguson finished with 34 assists and tied for the team lead in digs with nine, along with Shelby Dennis.
-For just the second time in school history, the Owls have recorded three 3-0 sweeps in its first six games. The other time came in the 2015 season, with KSU swept Alabama State, Savannah State, Jacksonville State and Mercer in the six five games.
-The Owls are now 4-3 all-time against Samford in the all-time series.
NEXT TIME OUT: The Owls are in their second tournament of the season as they will compete in the Maroon and White Invite, hosted by Mississippi State on Thursday-Saturday in Starkville. KSU opens the three-day event against the host Bulldogs at 7 pm, followed by Friday's game against South Alabama at 4 pm, and Saturday's contest at 12 pm against Houston.
ASUN Conference, Atlanta – the only DI conference headquartered in the ATL, our footprint's primary media, sports, business, transportation and cultural hub
The ASUN, a Division I conference member of the NCAA, boasts a membership of institutions that share visionary leadership, bold ambition and creative innovation. As a nimble adaptive conference, unafraid to blaze a national pathway for better service to our student-athletes, teams, and institutions, the ASUN has a proud history of firsts, national academic and athletic achievements and a conference culture that walks the walk with its four ASUN Beams. Students First! Rise. Connect. Impact. #ASUNBuilt by Austin Peay (Clarksville, Tenn.), Bellarmine (Louisville, Ky.), Central Arkansas (Conway, Ark.), Eastern Kentucky (Richmond, Ky.), FGCU (Fort Myers, Fla.), Jacksonville (Fla.), Jacksonville State (Jacksonville, Ala.), Kennesaw State (Ga.), Liberty (Lynchburg, Va.), Lipscomb (Nashville, Tenn.), North Alabama (Florence, Ala.), North Florida (Jacksonville, Fla.), Queens (Charlotte, N.C.) and Stetson (DeLand, Fla.).