Blackbirds upset undefeated Alabama during Cavalier Classic

Blackbirds upset undefeated Alabama

Annika Foit led the LIU Brooklyn volleyball team to a big win against the previously undefeated Alabama. Photo courtesy of LIU Brooklyn Athletics.

LIU Brooklyn volleyball upsets undefeated Alabama

The LIU Brooklyn volleyball team had a big weekend at the University of Virginia’s 2014 Cavalier Classic as it overcame a loss to Virginia during the first day of the tournament by beating the previously unbeaten Alabama and Navy on the second day to finish the weekend with a 2-1 record.

Senior Annika Foit, who has won back-to-back Northeast Conference Player of the Year awards, was at the top of her game as she set a career-high with 32 kills against Alabama which is just three shy of an LIU Brooklyn single-match record. Foit also had nine digs, three blocks and two services aces and 17 kills and 12 digs against Navy. Her and teammate Adriana Vinas Joy were named to the Classic’s All-Tournament Team for their efforts.

Friday’s loss to Virginia was disappointing as they dropped the match 3-1 (22-25, 25-17, 25-21, 25-22). Tamara Ignjic led with 19 kills and Foit had 18, Vera Djuric led with 41 assists and Vinas Joy had 21 digs.

Things turned around, big time, for the Blackbirds on Saturday against the Crimson Tide, who started the day with a perfect 5-0 record on the season. The Blackbirds started the first set off with a 5-3 lead and quickly pushed that to 10-5. Alabama slowly crept back into it and eventually tied it at 20-20. It was 26-26 when Djuric and Sonja Vukosavljevic came up with back-to-back blocks to win the set.

The second set was a true fight with both teams trading points nearly the entire way. It was 21-21 at one point when Alabama finally pulled away for the 25-22 victory.

The Blackbirds answered back with a strong third set as they jumped out to a 8-1 lead and the closest Alabama got after that was 20-18 before LIU Brooklyn finished the set 25-20 thanks to an attack error by ‘Bama’s Laura Steiner.

The fourth set was really the only time Alabama had a strong lead as they jumped ahead 13-5, then 16-6 and cruised to an easy 25-12 victory. That actually continued over to the fifth set as Alabama took a 4-1 lead, but the ‘Birds rallied and eventually tied it at 13-13. A service ace by Ignjic gave them a brief lead and kills by Foit and Nicole Okeke finally sealed the big win. Foit led the charge with 32 kills against Alabama, Djuric had 46 assists and Vinas Joy had 17 digs.

The Blackbirds wrapped up the weekend with a 3-1 victory (25-14, 25-21, 23-25, 25-23) over Navy. Foit and Ignjic each had 17 kills in that match, Djuric lead with 44 assists and Vinas Joy had 22 digs.

The Blackbirds are now 3-3 on the season after going 2-1 on the weekend. They head to Brooklyn next for their home opener against Fresno State at 6:00 p.m. in the Steinberg Wellness Center. Fresno State, who plays in the Mountain West Conference, currently has a 2-4 record on the season with wins against UC Davis and Sacramento State.

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