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Cougars Edged in OVC Tournament Final

Katie Shashack sets up Taylor Joens
Katie Shashack sets up Taylor Joens

MURRAY, Ky. – For the third time this season, SIUE volleyball went five sets with Murray State, including twice within a week. In their third meeting Saturday, Murray State upended SIUE 25-16, 24-26, 22-25, 25-13, 15-11 to win the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament at Racer Arena.

The match completed a fantastic season for the Cougars with a 22-8 record, breaking program records for Division I wins and victories in conference play (13).

SIUE Head Coach Leah Johnson, the OVC's Coach of the Year, said that after the match many of the players stepped forward and expressed their appreciation among teammates for bringing out the best in one another in a competitive and caring environment.

"I told them that I appreciated how everything I asked of them they responded," she said.

Saturday's final matched up the top two seeds in the tournament, and the action captivated the crowd of 808 who witnessed a powerhouse match.

Taylor Joens, a first team All-OVC selection, led SIUE with 13 kills while senior Taylor Held added nine kills. SIUE hit .128 for the match.

It was defense that shined for both teams. SIUE had five players with double figure digs, including 25 from Katie Shashack. The Cougars had 88 digs for the match.

Shashack and Mallory Mangun, who finished with a double-double of 26 assists and 13 digs, were named to the All-Tournament team.

"They were very steady and are great competitors for us," said Johnson.

SIUE's front line once again turned in double-digit blocks with 11. Joens and Carley Ramich each had five while Held added four.

Murray State, 23-8, defended their conference regular season title with 102 digs in the championship match, but it was an offense led by Scottie Ingram with 21 kills and Kristen Besselsen with 19 kills that held off the Cougars. Kamille Jones added a season-high 16 kills.

2016 OVC All-Tournament Team 
Kristen Stucker, Austin Peay
Nikki Drost, Eastern Kentucky
Mallory Mangun, SIUE
Katie Shashack, SIUE
Kristen Besselsen, Murray State
Ellie Lorenz, Murray State
Scottie Ingram, Muray State (MVP)

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