MARTIN, Tenn. – SIUE volleyball will have momentum heading into next week's Ohio Valley Conference Tournament after closing out the regular season with a five-set victory at UT Martin.
SIUE heads into the OVC Tournament with a four-match winning streak and having won 13 of its last 14 matches. The Cougars will be the No. 2 seed and face seventh-seeded Eastern Illinois in the opening match Thursday at 1:30 p.m. The tournament will be held at top-seeded Austin Peay.
The rest of the tournament first round includes No. 3 Murray State vs. No. 6 Jacksonville State at 11 a.m., No. 4 Eastern Kentucky vs. No. 5 Belmont as well as No. 1 Austin Peay vs. No. 8 Southeast Missouri at 7 p.m.
Saturday's 25-22, 12-25, 25-18, 24-26, 15-13 win allowed Head Coach Kendall Paulus to collect the most volleyball wins in school history for a first-year head coach, passing Joe Fisher who had 22 in 1999. SIUE is 23-5 this season with a 13-3 mark in OVC play.
After a back and forth match Saturday against UT Martin, Jackie Scott recorded the final two kills in set five. SIUE was down 5-1 in the final set and never took the lead until Scott's kill at 14-13.
"As soon as we switched at point eight, everyone was having fun," said Paulus. "They were so strong at the net. We didn't let anything phase us. That's been a key for us all season."
Paulus encouraged her team to play loose in set five.
"We wanted to leave it all on the court," she added.
Joens and Scott led the Cougars with 12 kills apiece. Jemima Idemudia collected a match-high 18 kills for UT Martin, which finished the season with an 11-18 overall and 5-11 in the OVC.
Ohio Valley Conference Tournament
at Clarksville, Tenn.
First Round – Thursday, November 16
Match 1 – No. 3 Murray State vs. No. 6 Jacksonville State – 11 a.m.
Match 2 – No. 2 SIUE vs. No. 7 Eastern Illinois – 1:30 p.m.
Match 3 – No. 4 Eastern Kentucky vs. No. 5 Belmont – 4:30 p.m.
Match 4 – No. 1 Austin Peay vs. No. 8 Southeast Missouri – 7 p.m.
Semifinals – Friday, November 17
Match 5 – Match 1 winner vs. Match 2 winner – 2:30 p.m.
Match 6 – Match 3 winner vs. Match 4 winner – 5 p.m.
Championship – Saturday, November 18
Match 7 – Match 5 winner vs. Match 6 winner – 12 p.m.