GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Senior setter McKenzie Powell reached a record-setting milestone on Friday night, becoming the first player in IU South Bend history to reach 3,000 career assists as the Titans picked up two more straight-set victories in the Aquinas-Cornerstone Invitational, defeating hosts Cornerstone (Mich.) and Rochester (Mich.)
Powell reached the mark early in the night, quickly earning the three assists needed at the start of play with the Golden Eagles. Powell finished with a combined 76 assists over both matches, averaging 12.7 assists over six sets.
The two wins also stretch the Titans’ current win streak to seven straight matches, now the second-longest in program history.
The Titans (7-1) opened play with a 25-22, 25-17, 25-22 victory over the host Golden Eagles (4-7), led by a match-high 15 kills from Julie Brown. The senior hit for a .414 attack percentage, to go with five total blocks in the win. McKenzie Powell collected 37 assists, and Suriya Van der Oord led the defense with 15 digs.
Cornerstone had a chance to take the first set, serving to tie the score, but an error gave IUSB set point instead, at 24-22. Hannah Marchand’s kill on the next point closed out the set. Tied at 14-14 in game two, the Titans reeled off nine straight points to take a commanding lead; kills from Amber Jacobs and Marchand closed out the set at 25-17.
IUSB would lead by as much as 12-4 early in game three, but Cornerstone used a 7-0 run to eventually tie the game at 21-21. The Titans secured the win, finishing out the match by taking four of the last five points.
Brown led the attack again in the second match of the night, scoring 16 kills to lead the Titans. IUSB never trailed in the first set, despite Rochester (6-7) closing on a 4-1 run. In the second set, the Titans trailed late 22-20, but back-to-back errors tied the game. A kill from Brown followed by a block from Brown and Marchand gave IUSB set point, and the Titans took a 2-0 lead in the match.
IU South Bend never looked back in game three, jumping out to an 11-1 lead. The win secured the team’s seventh straight victory, as well as 21 consecutive set wins throughout the streak.
The Titans can potentially match, then break, the program record with two more matches to close out the Aquinas-Cornerstone Invitational on Saturday afternoon. IUSB faces St. Thomas (Fla.) at 11:00 a.m., followed by a rematch with Aquinas at 3:00 p.m.